Jason Childress Still Breathing, Receives Proper Medical Care

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 25, 2003   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Jason Childress Still Breathing, Receives Proper Medical Care

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
September 25, 2003

Charlottesville, VA (LifeNews.com) — Jason Childress, the man at the center of a battle over whether to end his life, continues to breathe on his own. His stepmother, Katrina Childress, tells LifeNews.com that Jason is finally receiving proper medical care.

Katrina says Jason was moved to a nursing home on Tuesday. She would like to find a grant to allow Jason to be moved to Retreat Hospital in Richmond, Virginia. The hospital has a specialized program for patients in comas.

Katrina said Jason’s condition is improving and his is beginning to receive medical attention he needs.

"All of his vital signs still look good," Katrina indicated. "Jason was being suctioned on Saturday and actually spoke a little. It was jargled, but there was a voice, and he’s been opening his eyes a little."

Jason is no longer labeled as a "comfort care" patient — meaning he is now allowed to be treated as a "normal" patient and receive proper medical attention and care from nursing staff. A mix-up on the medical orders wrongly labeled Jason’s status, according to Katrina.

Katrina tells LifeNews.com that Jason’s progress is amazing and she’s hopeful his condition will continue to improve.

"Jason has clearly shown the world that he is a fighter and he does want to live. We may have lost the battle to keep him on life support but Jason has won the ultimate battle — life."

She is curious to know how Jason’s other family members, who wanted to take him off of life support, will react should Jason awake from his coma and recover from the injuries he sustained in the single car accident that put him in the hospital.

"I just wonder what Jason’s mother, girlfriend, and sister think now since Jason has clearly showed everyone around that he has really fought and he is going to live," Katrina said. "I suppose he’ll have a lot of questions to ask when he does wake up and knows what all has happened."

After family members couldn’t agree on Jason’s medical care, a local court appointed a retired judge to serve as Jason’s guardian and make the decision whether to remove Jason from a ventilator. The guardian agreed to take Jason off of the ventilator, however, Jason is allowed to continue to receive food and water through a feeding tube.

The case has pro-life advocates and Katrina Childress worried that doctors are giving up on patients too soon and withdrawing medical care.

Doctors at the University of Virginia medical center were ready to remove Jason from a ventilator only days after he arrived at the hospital. To do so would have violated a two-week advance notice given to the family as required by state law.

"Doctors really need to reconstruct how soon they approach people suggesting to end life support. I have come in contact with so many people who really have to fight against the doctors that give up hope too soon," Katrina concluded.

"People really need to sit back and think when they’re approached to end a life, that no matter how bleak the situation may look, God does perform miracles everyday and you have to have faith."