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Family of girl who died after tonsil surgery attacks state report clearing hospital

March 14th, 2014 6:36 am by By Matthias Gafni, Contra Costa Times (MCT)

Family of girl who died after tonsil surgery attacks state report clearing hospital

This undated file photo provided by the McMath family and Omari Sealey shows Jahi McMath, the 13-year-old girl who was declared brain dead after suffering complications from sleep apnea surgery. (AP Photo/Courtesy of McMath Family and Omari Sealey, File)

The family of Jahi McMath and their attorney lashed out Thursday at a California state report concluding that Children's Hospital Oakland complied with medical regulatory standards in its handling of the young girl's case. Jahi died after a tonsillectomy intended to relieve her sleep apnea..

Critics of the hospital questioned the thoroughness of the report, conducted by the state Department of Health, discussing for the first time details from the 13-year-old girl's medical records that they say raise serious questions about her care at the hospital should have been addressed in the investigation.

Calling it a "B.S. report," Jahi's uncle Omari Sealey in tweets questioned why the family was not interviewed as part of the investigation. The Oakland girl wound up bleeding significantly after her surgery and was later declared brain-dead.

"The State never interviewed the family who was THERE to witness Jahi bleeding to 'CA brain death' & there is no answer why she bled?" Sealey wrote in a series of tweets. "What's done in the dark, will come to light."

The state would not comment on specific questions related to Jahi, citing patient confidentiality laws, saying only that the survey was conducted after receiving a complaint about the girl's care.

"The California Department of Public Health conducted a comprehensive survey of care and services received by each patient sampled in the survey," according to the state agency. The hospital also defended the level of the investigation and the results.

Along with observing patients in the hospital at the time of the survey, reviewing relevant documents and interviewing staff, the state investigation included "patient/family interviews with patients and/or family willing to participate."The state did not immediately respond to an inquiry about Jahi's family allegations that they were not interviewed.

Family attorney Christopher Dolan released a statement saying the report was an example of doctors protecting doctors and stressed that just because the hospital was found to follow general institutional criteria, it did not mean there was not medical negligence in Jahi's case.

The night of her surgery, after massive bleeding, Jahi went into cardiac arrest at midnight and remained Code Blue until 3:40 a.m., said Jamie Court, president of Consumer Watchdog, who said he has consulted with sources who have reviewed Jahi's medical records. He said that her Code Blue lasted much longer than most.

"Either something was missing in the record or they were not attending to her," Court said.

In a statement Thursday, Children's Hospital said a team of six surveyors, including nurses, physicians and state investigators, reviewed 239 federal standards and their report was "comprehensive."

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