A New York City family is fighting for the life of 7-year-old Noelia Echavarria after a hospital declared her “brain dead” on Sunday.
Noelia was taken to NYU Langone last week after she is believed to have choked on a sandwich at PS 250 in Brooklyn, according to the New York Post. Four days later, the hospital declared her brain dead.
The details about what happened when Noelia choked are still unclear; but the news outlet reports that by the time a medic arrived, the first-grader had turned blue.
Medic Qwasi Reid said he was driving past the school when a school worker hailed him down to help Noelia. An EMT, he estimated that Noelia had been choking for at least five minutes before he got there, but no one was helping her, according to the report.
For his actions, Reid was suspended from his job. He told the news outlet that it was against his company’s policy to stop without being called.
“… I’m getting penalized for trying to save someone’s life,” Reid said. “If they’re not getting paid for the job, they don’t give a crap about you. But she was a priority for me.”
This week, Noelia’s family asked that she be transferred to the Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital in New Jersey after they said the NYU hospital began pushing to take her off a ventilator. However, the New Jersey hospital refused the transfer because she had been declared brain dead, according to the report.
Noelia’s family is not giving up on her. The family is keeping her on life support in hopes “she’ll make her way back,” family lawyer David Perecman told the news outlet.
“She has so much more to do,” her grandfather, Noel Santiago, 63, said. “Let’s try to save this little life.”
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Bobby Schindler, the brother of euthanasia victim Terri Schiavo and president of the Terri Schiavo Life and Hope Network, told LifeNews.com these tragic situations are becoming far too common.
“We see this as a growing problem in our nation, where hospitals are not only quick to make these types of hopeless diagnoses, but are also denying the family their medical rights as advocates,” Schindler said. “Especially in the situations like Noelia Echavarria, where the parents have every right to look out for their daughter’s best interest before making any decision that could possibly jeopardize her future, impact her family, or others who someday may find themselves in similar situations.”
Schindler encouraged people to educate themselves about patients rights in America.
Echavarria’s story seems like a tragic replay of the events surrounding another young girl who doctors labeled “brain dead” two years ago. Jahi McMath suffered a cardiac arrest following a routine surgery, and her family had to fight to save her life after the hospital tried to remove Jahi from a ventilator.
Last Saturday the “brain dead” girl’s family celebrated her 15th birthday at her bedside at a New Jersey hospital and posted a series of pictures on her Facebook page and a video showing Jahi respond to her mother, LifeNews.com reported earlier this week.