A 2-year-old boy is still alive more than a month after doctors tried to take him off life support against his family’s wishes.
This week, Life Legal Defense Foundation said its lawyers argued 2-year-old Israel Stinson’s case in federal court and sought another preliminary injunction to keep the hospital from removing him from a ventilator. They currently are waiting for a decision.
“We have been able to keep Israel on life support with the help of our legal team, but it has been a tough battle,” Israel’s parents said in a statement. “We are mentally and physically drained, but spiritually we are stronger than ever because we know that Israel is still very much alive!”
Israel 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 said Israel was “brain dead”; and, against his parent’s wishes, doctors planned to withdraw his life support, according to the pro-life legal group.
Currently, a judge has a temporary order in place to prevent the hospital from removing Israel’s ventilator while the family searches for another hospital willing to treat him, LifeNews reported.
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Since the “brain dead” diagnosis, witnesses have observed Israel reacting to his mother’s voice and touch and captured several of the occasions in a series of videos on YouTube. 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 is reacting to her voice and touch. Another video shows him moving as his mother massages and moves his legs.
Here is more from Life Legal:
Israel’s movements in response to his mother’s voice and touch, shown in these videos, are not consistent with brain death.
Life Legal was recently contacted by a neurologist who told us: “Any head movement by a person, whether to verbal stimuli or spontaneously, reveals that there is intact functioning of the brain, and indeed functioning of the cerebrum, and not just the brainstem…. Unlike adults, this child brain has more plasticity which means there is a much better chance of recovery from even the worst brain injury, so attempts to force this child’s family to have him die are truly deplorable.”
NBC Dateline aired a segment about the brain’s amazing capacity for self-repair just a few days ago in which it was noted that “Those first movements can be subtle, but crucial, because they can signal that a patient is getting better. And they may take weeks to appear.”
Israel suffered the asthma attack just a week after Easter and was rushed to the hospital. Initially, emergency room physicians told Israel’s parents that he was stable and probably could go home the next day, attorney Erin Mersino told LifeNews. Less than two hours later, however, his condition took a turn for the worse when he began wheezing and gasping for air. Doctors later told his parents that the lack of oxygen may have caused brain damage.
According to Mersino: “Three days later, on April 6th, doctors determined that Israel’s heart and lungs were functioning on their own. Then six days after that, doctors transferred Israel to yet another hospital, the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center. It is here, within 24 hours of receiving Israel, that the hospital told Israel’s parents that they would likely withdraw life support. Indeed, just two days after being transferred to Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, the hospital pronounced two-year Israel ‘brain dead.’”
In a plea for help, Israel’s mother said she was encouraged to see him responding. She is hanging on to hopes that he can recover and come home from the hospital.
“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,” she said.
“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.”