Jason Childress’ Family Continues Struggle to Provide Him Care

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 2, 2003   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Jason Childress’ Family Continues Struggle to Provide Him Medical Care

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
December 2, 2003

Charlottesville, VA (LifeNews.com) — While the family of Terri Schiavo continues its fight to stop her estranged husband from taking her life, the parents of Jason Childress are waging a battle of their own to get him the medical and rehabilitative care he needs.

Jason has been in a coma since a July 16 automobile accident. He was nearly removed from life support prematurely when the University of Virginia Medical Center failed to provide two weeks notice to his family before doctors gave up and wanted to pull the plug.

Jason’s father Jerry and stepmother Katrina were involved in a battle with other family members that ultimately ended with a court-appointed guardian deciding to remove Jason from life support.

Katrina Childress tells LifeNews.com that Jason continues to breathe on his own and responds to commands, despite being removed from the ventilator in early September.

"Jason is keeping his eyes open for longer periods of time now, when he hears the phone ring he looks towards the noise, and he still squeezes my hand upon command," Katrina said.

However, other family members still say Jason would prefer to die.

Jason’s sister Amy recently took a local newspaper reporter to visit Jason and he did not respond to her. That proves to Amy, whose own daughter was once put on life-support, that Jason is beyond hope and measures to provide him with medical care or rehabilitation are unnecessary.

"Jason is probably not going to respond to someone that he can hear saying he doesn’t want to live," Katrina said in response.

"With Amy continuing to say Jason wouldn’t want to live like this, I am deeply concerned," Katrina continued. "We’re not keeping him alive now — the only thing he has is a feeding tube. Jason would never have said he wanted to be starved to death. I am so afraid that if Amy continues telling reporters this then we may be in a situation like the Shindlers are with Terri Schiavo."

The good news for the Childress’ is that Jason’s court-appointed guardian, Herbert Pickford, a retired Charlottesville Circuit Court judge, says Jason should receive medical care as long as he continues to live. Pickford has said he does not favor removing the feeding tube.

Jason’s parents have been fighting to get into a rehab program, but they don’t have the funds to place him in a proper program such as the one at Retreat Hospital in Richmond, Virginia. The hospital has a specialized program for patients in comas.

Jerry and Katrina have also asked their attorney to have a neurological evaluation repeated to see the current extent of any brain damage Jason may have suffered.

"No matter what the neurological evaluation shows, Jerry and I stand firm with saying that Jason does want to continue to live," Katrina said.

Those who want to make a donation to benefit Jason Childress’ medical care can do so by sending a check to:

Trauma Resource Network Ministries
c/o Bank of the James
4698 S. Amherst Hwy.
Madison Heights, VA 24572