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Teen Who Was Declared Brain-Dead After Getting Her Tonsils Removed Has Died

Washington Post / Facebook

After waking up from her tonsil removal surgery, Jahi McMath started coughing up blood.

Because the tonsils are close to major blood vessels, it's normal for bleeding to occur after surgery.

But hours later, the simple surgery that was meant to make Jahi's life easier, only made it worse.

Surgery Gone Wrong


Jahi was bleeding profusely, and her family made several calls for a doctor to come over quick, but no one arrived until almost three hours later.

By that time, it was too late.

The 13-year-old girl was declared dead in December 2013 after hospital tests showed that she suffered from irreversible brain damage.

The coroner even signed a death certificate, but Nailah Winkfield, her mother, wasn't going to give up on her daughter just yet.

Igniting A National Debate

Jahi's case caused a debate on brain death after her mother refused to remove her from life support.

The California family knew in their hearts that their daughter was still alive.

According to reports, Jahi's lungs were still working and her heart was still beating, and as Christians, they knew she was still grasping onto life.

"Jahi wasn’t brain dead or any kind of dead," Winkfield said. "She was a girl with a brain injury and she deserved to be cared for like any other child who had a brain injury."

Winkfield went through a lengthy legal battle to keep her daughter alive. She was forced to move her to New Jersey, where they could take better care of her.

She quit her job at Home Depot and sold her house to make ends meet.

Now almost five years later, Jahi died on June 22 from bleeding caused by liver failure.

Winkfield said she's “devastated by the loss of her daughter who had showed tremendous strength and courage.”

“Jahi has forced the world to rethink the issue of brain death,” she continued. “My every day was focused and revolved around Jahi. I loved seeing her every morning and kissing her goodnight every night. The hole in my heart left by her passing is huge.”

Winkfield Wants Laws To Change

Santa Cruz Sentinel / Houston Chronicle

After starting a nationwide debate on the line between life and death, the religious mother wants to send a message to the world:

"These last four-and-a-half years have not been easy. I can go to sleep knowing I did everything possible for my kid and no one can take that away from me. My wish is that she will get some laws changed. I really hope that people learn from this and learn not to pull the plug so fast."

What's your take on this issue? Should Winkfield have pulled the plug in 2013?

[H/T: The Black Loop / Washington Post]

Moojan has been a writer at Shared for a year. When she's not on the lookout for viral content, she's looking at cute animal photos. Reach her at