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California residents have likely been following the story of the girl who had tonsil surgery in hopes of curing her sleep apnea. What caused this case to make the news is that the surgery resulted in irreparable brain injuries, leaving the girl in a vegetative state. The hospital recently announced that the girl has been released to the custody of her mother. The family had fought to obtain the release of the girl into their care after controversy broke out surrounding this case.
As many residents know, the state considers life to end when the brain ceases to function. For that reason, the state and the hospital have considered the girl to be dead for some weeks now. They threatened to take the girl off life support, then granted a short reprieve, while the family has frantically been trying to find a facility that would accommodate the girl under applicable California law.
The red tape grew more complicated. The deadline of the reprieve grew closer. Finally, a long-term care rehabilitation facility in New York State came forward as a potential, and literal, life-saver. While neither the family nor the facility has confirmed that the girl is in fact traveling there; the girl, her family and a critical care team did leave the hospital in Oakland.
Obviously there is no way of knowing how successful treatment and rehabilitation will be, but at least the girl has a chance at life and her family has more time with her to decide how they wish to proceed with her care. Her family could potentially have a case under California state law, as previously discussed, since the brain injuries allegedly happened as a result of the surgery. It is likely that this family’s medical bills and rehabilitation costs are just beginning, not to mention their emotional pain and suffering.