In a recent post we shared how a young girl underwent surgery for her tonsils but suffered major complications following the hospital procedure. Those complications have left the child, 13, in a condition that medical professionals, lawyers, family and other critics are passionately debating.

The basic matter of controversy is whether the child is clinically brain-dead. Identifying an answer to that medical question impacts the care that the child will either get or be denied. Yesterday, the family received news that, to them, means their child has a shot at life.

Medical professionals at the California hospital where the child is currently have stated that, based on medical tests and terms, the child is technically dead. Therefore, the hospital had intentions to turn off the machines that are keeping the girl’s breathing and heart going.

A judge’s recent ruling stalled the turning off of the machines, allowing the victim’s family to move her somewhere where staff is willing to keep her on machines and care for her. Though the family sees the decision as a victory, some, including hospital staff, fear that the family has false hope and is violating ethics related to a dignified end of life.

Without a doubt, this situation is as tragic and sensitive as it gets. Life, death and a child are all involved. The family’s fight thus far has been to protect what it sees as the still-existent life of their daughter. Whether this will turn to a civil medical malpractice case will surely only be known once the immediate matter of the child’s transfer and continued treatment are resolved.

Often in life, medical treatment such as surgery is necessary. Few people expect a surgical procedure to be free of any danger, but doctors and other medical staff have a duty to follow certain safety protocols in order to avoid unreasonable complications. Victims of surgical mistakes or other medical errors can talk to a medical malpractice lawyer to learn about their rights.

Source: USA Today, “Girl declared brain dead remains on life support,” Dec. 31, 2013