Thirteen-year-old brain dead after routine tonsillectomy

A 13-year-old girl, who suffered from sleep apnea, recently underwent a medical procedure to remove her tonsils. Doctors recommended the procedure, hoping the routine tonsillectomy would help cure the girl’s sleep condition. Three days after the so-called routine procedure, the girl was declared brain death.

Today, the girl’s family sits beside her hospital bed as machines work to keep her organs functioning. While the girl’s mother is adamant that her daughter will recover and wake up, doctors have repeatedly told the family she is brain dead and that there is no chance of recovery.

An investigation into those factors that contributed to the girl’s severe brain injury and current vegetative state is currently underway. Due to the investigation, the hospital is not speaking about young girl’s state. Her family, however, contend the girl began experiencing problems while still in the hospital recovering from the procedure.

Hemorrhaging from the mouth, the 13-year-old began choking on her own blood and was unable to speak. Scared, she frantically wrote notes to her mother saying she felt like she was choking. Despite attempts by medical personnel to stop the bleeding and intervene, the girl suffered a severe brain injury which doctors say has left her brain dead.

As the family grapples to understand what happened, doctors at the hospital have been pushing to pull the 13-year-old off of life support. The girl’s family, however, strongly believes their loved one will recover and are fighting for the opportunity to spend Christmas with the young girl.

While it’s not yet clear what factors may have contributed to these tragic circumstances, it’s likely there were signs that something was wrong. In cases where a doctor or nurse fails to properly monitor a patient’s vital signs, serious injury and even death can result.

Source: The New York Daily News, “Family wants to spend Christmas with 13-year-old girl declared brain-dead after having tonsils removed,” Stephen Rex Brown and Sasha Goldstein, Dec. 20, 2013

Brain Injuries


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