Last week brought good news for 2-year-old Israel Stinson whose family has been in a battle to save his life.
After several agonizing weeks of battling a hospital’s plans to take the toddler off life support, his family found a new hospital willing to care for him, according to Life Legal Defense Foundation. Israel was transferred to the new hospital on Saturday, and he now is receiving the care he deserves, the group said.
Israel was placed on life support after suffering a severe asthma attack at his California home in April. The toddler’s situation took a turn for the worse when he was transferred from a Sacramento hospital to a Kaiser 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.
Since then, his parents have been fighting to keep their son alive. With the help of Life Legal Defense Foundation, the family found a new care facility that is willing to give Israel a chance to recover. The specific location of the hospital is not being disclosed to protect Israel’s privacy and safety, but it is not in the U.S.
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“Israel’s parents are finally able to get their son the treatment he has needed for the past six weeks,” said Life Legal Executive Director Alexandra Snyder. “It is disappointing that they had to travel outside the United States to do so, but we are grateful that the current hospital is providing Israel with nutrition and excellent care.”
“Most importantly, specialists have determined that Israel is not brain dead,” Snyder continued. “California’s brain death statute does not allow for a truly independent examination, thus depriving patients of the right to due process involving the most fundamental of constitutionally protected rights: the right to life itself.”
After more than six weeks without any nutrition except dextrose, Israel is finally receiving the nutrients he needs, including protein, fats and vitamins, the legal group said. He is also getting a comprehensive treatment protocol for severely brain injured patients, according to the legal group.
Israel is expected to receive a tracheotomy and gastrostomy sometime in the next week. Then, his family hopes to be able to bring him back to the United States for home care. His parents are consulting with neurologists and other specialists regarding coma arousal procedures to give Israel the best possible opportunity to recover his brain function, the legal group said.
Several medical experts, including a neurologist and a pediatric specialist, examined Israel and agreed that he does not meet the criteria for brain death, the pro-life legal group said. An EEG performed on Monday also indicated that the toddler shows signs of brain activity, according to the group.
Since the “brain dead” diagnosis, witnesses also 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.”
A similar situation played out with young Jahi McMath, who is still alive more than two years after a hospital declared her brain dead and her family fought to keep her alive. In November, the 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.