There is more good news this week in the case of a 2-year-old California boy who a hospital wants to take off life support against his family’s wishes.
On Monday, a federal judge ruled with the family, allowing 2-year-old Israel Stinson to stay on life support, according to the Pacific Justice Institute, which is representing him. The judge’s order will stay in place until May 11, attorney Erin Mersino said.
Though the hospital declared Israel “brain dead” a few weeks ago, he has since been observed reacting to his mother’s voice and touch, according to Life Legal Defense Foundation, which also is representing Israel.
A series of videos posted on YouTube show the little boy reacting to his mother’s voice and touch. One video shows the toddler shrugging as his mother talks to him and tickles him. On the video, his mother says his monitors also indicate that he seems to hear her voice and feel her touch. Another video shows him moving as his mother massages and moves his legs.
On a third video for Life Legal, Israel’s mother Jena Ponseca said she saw Isaiah lift his arm and take breaths on his own.
“I can’t even say how much joy that brings me just to see him slowly but surely responding,” she said. “I’m just reaching out hoping that any hospital, some hospital is willing to take him … to bring him back to that happy little boy I was seeing on Easter morning,” a week before he suffered a severe asthma attack.
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Mersino said Dr. Paul Byrne, a neonatologist, pediatrician, and clinical Professor, also visited Israel recently and after examining him and his medical records, determined that he is alive.
The family is looking for a hospital that will care for Isaiah and give him a chance to recover. He was placed on life support after suffering a severe asthma attack at home in April. The toddler’s situation took a turn for the worse when he was transferred from a Sacramento hospital to another area hospital on April 12. Less than 24 hours after the hospital admitted Israel, the staff notified his parents that they intended to run tests to determine his brain activity and likely would withdraw his life support, according to the pro-life legal group.
Israel’s mother said she posted notes throughout his hospital room instructing the hospital not to conduct any tests on her son without her permission. One of the notes said: “This letter puts you on notice that we will be filing a temporary restraining order with the courts this week. I am in need of more time before any further tests are performed and am requesting an outside physician to intervene and give a second prognosis.”
However, Israel’s mother said the hospital staff ignored the notes and conducted the tests anyway.
The federal judge’s order is good news, but the fight for Israel’s life is not over. The legal group said it still is looking for a hospital willing to treat Israel.
Brad Dacus, president of Pacific Justice Institute, said in a statement: “Justice demands that hospitals and the courts weigh in favor of life over death. The stakes are so high that it is unconscionable that any hospital committed to the health and life of their patient would be so quick to disregard the potential life of this innocent two-year-old.”
“Please keep praying that we find a hospital for Israel that will provide him with a breathing tube and a feeding tube,” Life Legal said in an email. “This will allow him to be released to home care.”