Mom: Brain-dead teen doing 'much better'

NEED TO KNOW
  • Teen Jahi McMath was declared brain-dead on December 12, 2013, following tonsil surgery
  • Her family moved her into a long-term care facility
  • 'I love Jahi and where there is love, there is hope,' her mom wrote in an open letter, which was released Wednesday
Mom: Brain-dead teen doing 'much better'

Grandma: 'Just pray for Jahi, please'

Grandma: 'Just pray for Jahi, please'

The mother of 13-year-old Jahi McMath, who doctors declared brain-dead in December, released an open letter Wednesday, saying her daughter isn't suffering and has been surrounded by love since being moved into a long-term care facility from a hospital in Oakland, California.

"Despite what people say about my daughter being dead and how I must be ignorant not to get that, I can tell you that she is much better physically since she has left Children's Hospital and I see changes that give me hope," wrote Nailah Winkfield in the letter posted Wednesday to Facebook

Omari Sealy, Winkfield's brother, told CNN that his sister wanted him to post the letter on Facebook. Sealy did not specify to CNN what changes the family has seen.

Jahi underwent surgery on December 9, 2013, to remove her tonsils, adenoids and extra sinus tissue. The teen had been suffering from pediatric obstructive sleep apnea, a condition where she might stop breathing in her sleep.

The family said the eighth-grader seemed fine after surgery and even asked for a popsicle to soothe her sore throat. In an intensive care unit, however, the family said Jahi started bleeding profusely. She went into cardiac arrest, according to family members, who said she was then declared brain-dead on December 12, 2013.

Jahi's family engaged in a weeks-long struggle with the hospital, which wanted to pull her from a ventilator. However, Jahi's relatives insisted that she showed signs of life.

Winkfield explained in the letter that she hasn't spoken out about her daughter in more than a month "for reasons of safety and privacy and to focus on my daughter and my role as her mother." She calls the ability to transfer her daughter out of the hospital a "miracle" and thanks supporters for their prayers and "unselfish generosity."

Watch: Miracle the only hope for brain-dead teen?

"If I had it my way, I would say thank you to each and every person in their native language so they could understand how much I appreciate them," Winkfield wrote in the letter. "It is my belief that faith in God, your prayers, and the incredible kindness of good-hearted medical professionals, are the main reasons my daughter is alive today."

Winkfield also thanked everyone who went public with their opinions about her daughter's situation -- whether positive or negative.

"It is because of you that my daughter's experience is so relevant and that people all over the world know who Jahi McMath is. What you may not know is that her name, Jahi, means one who is known by many. Hopefully my daughter can change some of the ways brain death is viewed in today's society. Honestly, I think she already has."

Watch: Jahi McMath released from hospital

The hospital hasn't discussed the details of the case, citing privacy laws.

Medical experts say Jahi's condition can't improve if she truly is brain-dead. But her family continues to hope for a miracle.

"For those who believe, please, keep praying for Jahi," Winkfield wrote in the letter. "God can overcome all things and I believe that His will has yet to be fully revealed. I love Jahi and where there is love, there is hope."

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