The family of Terri Schiavo, the brain-damaged Florida woman who died in 2005 after almost 15 years in a vegetative state, has urged continued life support for a California teenager left brain dead after a tonsillectomy.
Jahi McMath, 13, was declared brain dead after the operation last month, and her doctors and a judge agree there is no chance she will ever wake up, CNN reports. Her family said she started hemorrhaging and went into cardiac arrest following the routine tonsil removal procedure.
A judge has ruled that Children’s Hospital Oakland must turn off the McMath’s ventilator at 5 p.m. on Jan. 7. McMath’s family wants her moved to a New York facility that they believe can help their daughter, but McMath’s uncle said the hospital “refused to agree to allow us to proceed in that matter.”
“Together with our team of experts, Terri’s Network believes Jahi’s case is representative of a very deep problem within the U.S. healthcare system — particularly those issues surrounding the deaths of patients within the confines of hospital corporations, which have a vested financial interest in discontinuing life,” the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope network said in a statement.
“We have done everything to assist the family of Jahi McMath in their quest to take the deceased body of their daughter to another medical facility,” a hospital spokesman said. “To date, they have been unwilling or unable to provide a physician to perform the procedures necessary, transportation, or a facility that would accept a dead person on a ventilator.”
Family attorney Christopher Dolan said that the hospital was “hell-bent” on refusing Jahi further treatment.
The legal battle over Terri Schiavo’s life support made headlines in 2005 when her husband Michael Schiavo insisted on removing her from life support against her parents’ wishes.
(MORE: A Mother’s Fight to Keep Her 13 Year Old Daughter On Life Support)