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Narberth-Based Terri Schiavo Network Helps Family Of California Girl Declared Brain Dead

2006 file photo. Bobby Schindler, Terri Schindler Schiavo's brother, holds a media conference on Capitol Hill to announce the official launch of The Terri Schindler Schiavo Foundation March 30, 2006 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

2006 file photo. Bobby Schindler, Terri Schindler Schiavo’s brother, holds a media conference on Capitol Hill to announce the official launch of The Terri Schindler Schiavo Foundation March 30, 2006 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Gregg_Cherrie--NEW Cherri Gregg
Cherri Gregg is the community affairs reporter for KYW Newsr...
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By Cherri Gregg

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A Montgomery County non-profit started on behalf of Terri Schiavo has been secretly helping the family of Jahi McMath in Oakland, California. The 13-year-old girl suffered massive complications during tonsil surgery that led doctors to diagnose her as “brain dead.”

The McMath family celebrated on New Year’s Eve when they won the right to temporarily keep Ja-high on life support. But they only have a few days. The reprieve expires January 7th.

“Decisions as simple as whether food and water will be provided to an individual are being put more and more in the hands of hospital boards and medical professionals instead of with family members,” says Bobby Schindler.

Schindler runs the Narberth-based Terri Schiavo Hope and Life Network and was on the front lines battling for more than a decade to keep his sister alive after a brain injury left her in a vegetative state. Schindler pool resources with other groups, like the Life Legal Defense, to find another hospital that will keep Jahi alive.

“This girl needs time, she needs help to see if she can recover. And the family is asking for that. And I think the family should be afforded the opportunity if it’s out there–and there are physicians out there that one to help here– to see if she can improve,” he said.

Schindler says there’s debate over Jahi’s brain dead diagnosis. He says they are hoping to raise more awareness about family rights.