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Court-appointed doctor says Calif. teen brain dead

Published: Tue, December 24, 2013 @ 5:45 p.m.

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — A court appointed doctor testified today that a 13-year-old Northern California girl is brain dead after suffering complications after a tonsillectomy.

Dr. Paul Graham Fisher said Jahi McMath "meets all the criteria" of brain death. Dr. Fisher's evaluation was the second to reach that conclusion.

Children's Hospital of Oakland filed court papers this morning asking that the girl be taken off life support after doctors there also concluded she was brain dead. Her family wants to keep the 13-year-old connected to a breathing machine and has asked for another opinion. The family argues that the hospital can't remove the teen from life support without their permission.

Hospital lawyers disagree.

"Because Ms. McMath is dead, practically and legally, there is no course of medical treatment to continue or discontinue; there is nothing to which the family's consent is applicable," the hospital's court filing stated.

Dr. Fisher first provided his opinion to Alameda County Judge Evelio Grillo behind closed doors this morning. He briefly provided his conclusions in open court that Jahi has no brain activity. He left court without taking questions.

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