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Tonsillectomy leaves 13-year-old girl brain dead, says family

A routine tonsillectomy may have left a 13-year-old girl brain dead, according to her family members who are hoping for a miracle.

Jahi McMath went to Children’s Hospital Oakland to get her tonsils removed last week, according to CBS San Francisco. Her grandmother noticed bleeding from her nose and mouth after the procedure, and the girl reportedly soon went into cardiac arrest.

Instead of going home, she remains hospitalized on a ventilator with no brain activity. Her mother Nailah Winkfield told the station that doctors said her daughter won’t recover.

“I have no tears left, so the only thing I can do is stay here,” said Winkfield. “I am not leaving unless she leaves with me because I will not let them pull the plug on my child.”

In a tonsillectomy, a child will typically go under general anesthesia where surgeon would then cut or burn away the tonsils -- the two oval-shaped tissues at the back of the throat -- and control the bleeding. Some children can ho home hours after surgery, according to the National Institutes of Health.

“Jahi’s family has requested that we not share any details of her case with the media,” Dr. David Durand, chief of pediatrics at Children’s Hospital, said to CBS News in an emailed statement. “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.”

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