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Statements in Response to Media Coverage December 2013

MEDIA STATEMENT
January 5, 2014

A short while ago, the body of Jahi McMath was released by UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland to the coroner. The coroner has released her body to the custody of her mother, Latasha Winkfield, as per court order, for a destination unknown. Our hearts go out to the family as they grieve for this sad situation and we wish them closure and peace.

David Durand, MD
Chief of Pediatrics
Children's Hospital & Research Center Oakland

MEDIA STATEMENT 
December 29, 2013

Children's Hospital Oakland continues to support the family of Jahi McMath in this time of grief and loss over her death. We continue to do so despite their lawyer's criticizing the very hospital that all along has been working hard to be accommodating to this grieving family.

We have been waiting since Friday 12/27--when we were first told by the family lawyer of a potential facility that might accept the body of Jahi--for a call from a physician to discuss with our medical staff what may be necessary to transfer the deceased. Our physicians have yet to receive a single call or message from the facility under consideration.

The letter/email below was sent to Chris Dolan, the McMath family lawyer, at approximately noon today, Dec. 29, by Children's Hospital Oakland's attorney Douglas Straus:

"Chris,
I learned from your statements to the media that the Southern California sub-acute facility will not accept Jahi McMath's body because the physicians there do not want to treat a dead body. Children's Hospital understands that this is a very difficult time for Jahi's family. Children's will continue to do what it can do to support the family. In that regard, Children's position has been consistent:
  1. Children's will be pleased to communicate directly with a physician at any facility that is considering accepting Jahi's body to make sure Children's understands the requirements set by that facility for accepting the body and to ensure that the facility understands the current condition of the dead body and what is being done to maintain it under Judge Grillo's temporary restraining order. Of course, the family's representatives can observe that communication.
  2. Children's needs to be assured that there is a lawful transportation plan to any facility to which transfer is proposed.
  3. If the proposed facility is out-of-state, Children's needs written assurances from the Coroner that their office will allow the transfer.

To date, there has been no communication from any facility named by you regarding a transfer or requirements for transfer with any of the medical professionals at Children's. The family has not identified any facility with which Children's can have this dialogue. Nor have we been provided with a transportation plan or coroner authorization.

As your email and your statements about the facility in the Los Angeles area acknowledge, discussion about performing medical procedures upon a dead body presents unusual and complicated questions. Until there is a definite commitment by a facility to accept Jahi's body upon specified terms, I don't think I can tackle those issues. Please let me know if the family is able to identify a facility.
Doug Straus"

MEDIA STATEMENT
December 26, 2013

Children’s Hospital Oakland continues to offer its sympathy and support to the family over the recent death of Jahi McMath. We are aware that the family’s attorney has stated the family hopes to transfer Jahi’s body to another facility. However, he has refused to identify the facility to which they hope to transfer Jahi’s body. The family’s attorney has stated that multiple surgical procedures need to be performed on Jahi’s body before this possible transfer can be completed.

Judge Grillo was very clear on Tuesday December 24. He ruled Jahi McMath to be deceased and instructed the hospital to maintain the status quo. Judge Grillo did not authorize or order any surgical procedures or transfer to another facility. Children’s Hospital Oakland does not believe that performing surgical procedures on the body of a deceased person is an appropriate medical practice. Children’s Hospital Oakland continues to extend its wishes for peace and closure to Jahi McMath’s family.

David Durand, MD
Chief of Pediatrics
Children's Hospital & Research Center Oakland

MEDIA STATEMENT  
December 23, 2013


We are sorry that Jahi McMath suffered tragic complications from her complex surgery. Our hearts go out to the grieving family and community about this sad situation. We look forward to the independent expert’s evaluation of the patient. The Chief of Pediatric Neurology at Stanford Children’s Hospital, Dr. Paul Fisher, is a known expert on brain death and has performed many such examinations.

Both the State Department of Public Health and the hospital are investigating this matter. The hospital is committed to learning what led to this catastrophic outcome.
We have the deepest sympathy for Jahi's mother who wishes her daughter was alive; but the ventilator cannot reverse the brain death that has occurred and it would be wrong to give false hope that Jahi will ever come back to life.

Our mission is to heal children and our hospital community grieves along with this family during this difficult time.

David Durand, MD
Chief of Pediatrics


MEDIA STATEMENT
Children's Hospital & Research Center Oakland: Statement in response to Nailah Winkfield's Open Letter December 21, 2013


Our hearts go out to Nailah, her family and the community. We understand the intense grief of a mother who has lost a child. We are committed to fully investigating what caused this catastrophic outcome from this complicated surgery. As medical professionals, it is our responsibility to ensure that we don't create hope where there is none. When one's brain ceases to function, it never restarts. We have the deepest sympathy for Jahi's mother who wishes her daughter was alive; but the only thing maintaining this child is a ventilator machine and it would be unfair to give false hope that Jahi will come back to life.

David Durand, MD
Chief of Pediatrics
Children's Hospital & Research Center Oakland


12/20 Filed 12-20-13, Superior Court of the State of California, County of Alameda

12/20 Filed 12-20-13, Superior Court of the State of California, County of Alameda

MEDIA STATEMENT
Children's Hospital & Research Center Oakland: Response to Consumer Watchdog press release of 12/18/13


The press release issued by Consumer Watchdog is replete with errors and unsubstantiated claims. Unfortunately, we are unable to correct many of these inaccuracies because of the family's refusal to let Children's Hospital & Research Center Oakland speak about this case.

Two of the points about which we can comment are the involvement of external review, and the release of records. We promptly reported this matter to the California Department of Public Health, which is actively reviewing the matter in partnership with us. Jahi's family has the same access to our medical records as the family of any patient at Children's. As a matter of policy, we do not release the entire medical record while the patient is in the hospital, since it is a document in continuous use. All families have the right to review the record while the patient is in the hospital, and have access to the entire record after the hospitalization has ended.

We continue to work closely with the family to support them during this painful time. It is very disturbing to us that an organization such as Consumer Watchdog has made so many unsubstantiated and inflammatory claims, particularly when we are precluded from addressing any of the specifics of this case at the family's insistence. We continue to strive to provide the best care possible for all patients, and their families, as we have for the past 100 years.

David Durand, MD
Chief of Pediatrics
Children's Hospital & Research Center Oakland


MEDIA STATEMENT
December 17, 2013


Our hearts go out to this patient and her family. Unfortunately, we have not been authorized by the family to share information with the public about this matter. Consequently, we are not able to correct misperceptions created about this sad situation. Nonetheless, we want to assure the community that we are doing everything in our capacity to provide support to the grieving family. We have been caring for children in this community for over 100 years and have a longstanding commitment to delivering the highest quality care for all.

David Durand, MD
Chief of Pediatrics
UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland


MEDIA STATEMENT
December 16, 2013

Jahi’s family has requested that we not share any details of her case with the media. We can say that, as whenever we see a medical or surgical complication, we are reviewing her case very closely. Our hearts go out to her family, and we want to support them during this extremely difficult time.

David Durand, MD
Chief of Pediatrics
Children's Hospital & Research Center Oakland
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Statements in Response to Media Coverage December 2013