A 13-year-old girl declared brain dead after suffering complications from surgery will receive an honorary diploma during her school’s 8th-grade graduation this week. Omari Sealey, the uncle of Jahi McMath, said the girl’s school in Oakland will give the diploma to a family member.
Sealey said a family member will accept the diploma from the East Oakland school on behalf of Jahi, who remains on machines at an undisclosed facility nearly six months after she was declared brain-dead.
Jahi had attended the school since kindergarten and was in the eighth grade when she underwent tonsil surgery and two other procedures to remove throat and nasal tissue at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland. Jahi later suffered cardiac arrest and was declared brain-dead two days later, on Dec. 12.
The family successfully fought the hospital in court to move her to another facility, where they say she remains on breathing and feeding tubes, despite several doctors saying the precise diagnosis of brain death means she will never be revived. To move her, Jahi’s mother signed a death certificate. The family has said her condition has improved since she left the Oakland hospital.
E.C. Reems Principal Lisa Blair said the school “wanted to do something for Jahi because she’s a family member of ours.”
“We had planned to do something and just needed some clarification around it,” Blair said.