The mother of Jahi McMath said today the hospital where the 13-year-old girl is being kept on life support is not feeding her and has been insensitive in referring to the brain-dead teen as "the body."
"To watch my daughter just sit there and not have food ... I'm just so happy that she is kind of a thick girl so she still looks good," Latasha Winkfield said today. "I tell her every day, 'Jahi, you losin' weight girl, but you still look good.' I just think it's inhumane to not feed my child, to not refer to her by her name, and stop us in our tracks."
The family has been fighting for time to find a facility willing to take Jahi, but hospital officials have said they don't believe any such place exists because the girl is "deceased."
"I hate it that they refer to her as just the body or the deceased; that is my child that they're talking about," Winkfield said. "They don't even use her name."
The family news conference came after the hospital filed a motion arguing the girl's family had plenty of time to find a new facility to take her and that she should be unhooked from her ventilator because she is legally dead.
The filing in federal court was the latest in the battle over Jahi, who was declared brain dead on Dec. 12 following tonsil surgery.
One hour before a court order was set to expire and Children's Hospital Oakland planned to unhook Jahi from a ventilator Monday evening, a judge extended her life support to Jan. 7.
Jahi will remain hooked up to a ventilator for at least another week as her family plots the logistics of moving her to a facility willing to treat her. The family is considering potential options in New York and Arizona, according to court documents.
Donations to a fundraiser Winfield started surged past $32,000 Monday night, according to gofundme.com, after the judge's decision.
The family has said it plans to use the money toward the cost of transferring Jahi to a new facility. But when reached by ABCNews.com Monday night, Jahi's uncle, Omari Sealy, declined to share specifics of the family's next move.
"We're just grateful," he said. "We want to thank God and everybody out there who prays for us. Keep praying, it's working."
Christopher Dolan, an attorney for the family, filed complaints in superior and federal courts on Monday to stop the hospital from unhooking Jahi when the previous court order expired at 5 p.m. PT Monday.
Also included in the federal complaint was a request that Children's Hospital Oakland perform a tracheotomy and to insert a feeding tube, which are necessary procedures before Jahi can be transferred.
Children's Hospital Oakland "does not believe that performing surgical procedures on the body of a deceased person is an appropriate medical practice," the hospital said in a statement posted on its website last week.
An attorney for the hospital wrote in today's court filing that administrators had not heard from any potential facilities the family has reportedly claimed are willing to take Jahi.
The hospital said any facility that takes Jahi would be accepting a dead body and would have to get a coroner's approval.
The hospital reiterated in a statement that it has continued "to support the family of Jahi McMath in this time of grief and loss over her death."
- Family & Relationships