Clergy Criticizes Children’s Hospital’s Continued Insensitivity


Oakland clergy are still demanding answers from Children’s Hospital Oakland in regards to the way they handled the case of Jahi McMath.

McMath was declared brain dead three days after complications from tonsil surgery. The family fought to keep the teenager on life support, and during the ordeal, the hospital was criticized for its insensitivity towards the family.

“…We watched the hospital spokesperson tell the public “there is no amount of hope, there is no amount of prayer, she is dead”; we watched as the hospital hired extra security for people who were hurting but demonstrated no violent behavior,” said Rev. Harold Mayberry of First AME Church in Oakland.

Mayberrysays clergy members began working in December to negotiate a meeting with hospital staff, clergy, and a member of Jahi McMath’s family.

Because the hospital is an important institution in the community, he said, the goal of the meeting “was to attempt to bring healing to what has been a very painful situation for the community.”

However, it wasn’t until the end of January, after clergy pointed out a breach in protocol by hospital staff that CEO Betram Lubin finally responded, according to Mayberry.

The response did not address their concerns, but instead indicated requirements for the meeting, which included additional hospital staff not directly associated with McMath’s case as well as other clergy members selected by the hospital.

The hospital also refused to include any member of the McMath family in the meeting.

“The hospital’s attempt to dilute our righteous concerns by hand-selecting additional clergy to attend the meeting, and their fear of candid discourse engenders a disconnect from the very community they seek to serve and diminishes Children’s Hospital’s testimony of being compassionate, caring and respectful,” said Mayberry.

Since being released from Children’s Hospital, McMath has been in an undisclosed location. The family released a video on YouTube showing that the young girl physically responded to ice being rubbed on her foot.

Councilwoman Desley Brooks has also expressed her discontent with the way Children’s Hospital publicly handled McMath’s case.

“The question isn’t why I believe it’s important for Children’s Hospital to have the meeting with the pastors who wrote to them, but rather why wouldn’t Children’s want to respond to the legitimate concerns of members of the very community they seek to serve,” said Brooks.



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