Hospital Plans to Cut Off Mother of Seven’s Life Support Against Family’s Wishes

State   |   Sarah Zagorski   |   Mar 20, 2015   |   2:10PM   |   Anaheim, CA

In California, doctors are planning to take a mother of seven off life support against her family’s wishes. At Anaheim Regional Medical Center, Lisa Avila went into cardiac arrest six weeks ago after not being properly treated for an ectopic pregnancy.

The hospital told the family in a letter that Avila’s ventilator would be removed no later than 4 p.m. on Friday because she’s been declared brain dead. The definition of brain death is the irreversible loss of all functions of the brain, including the brainstem. According to the National Institute of Health, the three essential findings in brain death are coma, absence of brainstem reflexes, and apnoea.

However, her loved ones believe that Avila isn’t brain dead. Her husband, Roberto Chavez, said, “However long it takes, I’m gonna be here with my wife. I just want her home with us.” According to CBS Los Angeles, he just wants a few more days so she can be weaned off all medications and moved to a long-term care facility.

Click here to sign up for daily pro-life news alerts from

Her aunt, Jessica Jule, said, “When we talk to her, she reacts to us. She’ll move her fingers when I hold her hand. Those are all stimulations from her brain.”

Currently, Avila’s lawyer is trying to get a transfer document from the hospital but her family won’t leave her side out of fear that the ventilator will be removed.

The hospital said in a statement, “This is a very difficult situation. We extend our deepest, heartfelt sympathy to the family and friends of the patient.”


As LifeNews previously reported, in 2014 the organs of a 26-year-old woman were removed against her family’s wishes after she was declared brain dead. The woman, Martha Perez, was involved in a tragic car accident with a drunk driver. However, the family claimed Perez was still alive when her organs were removed. They said, “We don’t want to be pressured. My family feels pressured and it’s just hard for someone to make that kind of decision when this just happened.” Family member Juan Martinez said, “She still has heart and lung functions. They took her off the life support and she was still breathing.”

Legal expert Jessica Dunne said the family had the legal right to keep Perez on life support if her organs are still functioning. Martinez concluded, “We know we have to come to a decision but we aren’t going to let no hospital or no state make that decision for us. That wasn’t the case as the hospital decided to move forward in the process.”