OAKLAND, Calif.

- A California judge yesterday ordered a 13-year-old girl who was declared brain dead to be kept on life support until Jan. 7.

Alameda County Superior Court Judge Evelio Grillo ordered Children's Hospital Oakland to maintain Jahi McMath on a ventilator past yesterday's 5 p.m. time that was set in a previous ruling.

The family wants to continue life support, saying there is hope for recovery.

Nailah Winkfield, the girl's mother, said she wept when she heard about the ruling and hugged relatives outside the hospital. She said the delay was an answer to her prayers and a sign that she was right to keep fighting.

"Who wants to know the date and the time their child would die?" she said. "I don't care what anyone has to say about what I'm doing . . . I have to do what is right for me and for Jahi."

She said she does not believe her daughter is dead because her heart is still beating.

Sam Singer, a hospital spokesman, said it would comply with the judge's new order.

Jahi had a tonsillectomy at the hospital on Dec. 9. After she awoke from the operation, her family said, she bled heavily and went into cardiac arrest.

She was declared brain dead three days later.

The latest ruling came after the family said they would sue to keep Jahi on life support.

Family spokesman Omari Sealey, the uncle of Jahi, disclosed the plan to seek a restraining order against the hospital.

Sealey said the family took video of Jahi responding when her mother touched and talked to her. He also said a pediatrician examined her and said she was not dead.

A facility in New York state is willing to take Jahi, and arrangements have been made for medical transport with a doctor by her side, the uncle said.