Terri Schiavo’s Sister Says Hospital Wrong to Deny Emilio Gonzales Care

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 9, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Terri Schiavo’s Sister Says Hospital Wrong to Deny Emilio Gonzales Care Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
April 9
, 2007

Austin, TX (LifeNews.com) — The sister of Terri Schiavo is weighing in on the case of Emilio Gonzales, a baby plagued by Leigh’s disease who has been the center of a battle in Texas over a futile care law. The law allows hospitals that no longer want to care for a patient to only give their families 10 days to find another facility that will.

Last week, a federal judge refused to grant a temporary restraining order to require the Brackenridge Children’s Hospital to provide lifesaving medical treatment. The medical center says it will stop treating Emilio tomorrow.

Emilio has been diagnosed with the disease, which is an incurable disorder that causes the breakdown of the central nervous system. Without the treatments, Emilio will die in a matter of hours.

The doctors’ decision last month to remove Emilio from life support and discontinue his medical treatments left his mother, 23 year-old single mom Catarina, with little hope.

"This is so sad," Terri’s sister Suzanne Vitadamo said in a statement LifeNews.com received.

"That a hospital ‘ethics’ committee would vote to end the life of a child against his mother’s wishes is unbelievable, especially since Emilio’s condition has actually shown some improvement over the past several weeks," Vitadamo explained.

The Schindler family has created the Terri Schindler Schiavo Foundation and worked in the two years since Terri’s death to assist disabled patients in getting appropriate medical care.

Because of the foundation’s work, Vitadamo spoke recently with a mother from Madison, Wisconsin, whose seven-year-old daughter has a mitochondrial disease similar to the one Emilio is suspected of having.

"This little girl was diagnosed as being in a so-called persistent vegetative state for the first three years of her life," Vitadamo says.

"Her mother researched the disease and learned that hyperbaric oxygen treatment had shown some success in treating the condition," Terri’s sister said. "Today the once fragile little girl now attends school, against all odds and much to the amazement of doctors who said she would not even live past the age of three."

Although there is no guarantee that similar treatment would produce such results in Emilio’s case, there is hope, Vitadamo says.

"We are hoping that the hospital will grant an additional extension in Emilio’s case," Vitadamo said.

"We encourage them to continue treating this little boy, making every effort to sustain his life for as long as is needed, while we pursue a facility for transfer and possibly even treatment that could save him."

Related web sites:
Terri Schindler Schiavo Foundation – https://www.terrisfight.org