Little Israel Stinson, the 2-year-old who nearly lost his life when a hospital tried to pull the plug on him, is thriving under the care of his new doctors.
Life Legal Defense Foundation, which is representing Israel and his family, said he has improved so much that he is ready to leave the hospital – but another problem stands in his way.
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.
After a series of court battles, Israel’s family was able to stop the hospital from removing their son’s life support; however, the family was forced to take him out of the country in May to a hospital that agreed to treat him. Since then, several doctors have determined that Israel has brain damage, but he is not brain dead, Life Legal said.
“At the new hospital, Israel not only received an honest and accurate diagnosis. He not only received much better nutrition than he’d been granted in his American hospital. He also received a tracheotomy and gastrostomy,” Life Legal said in an email this week.
Alexandra Snyder, executive director of the legal group, said Israel has surprised his new doctors with his improvements. She said he is moving more every day, and his blood pressure is stable.
“The problem is… the hospital that performed these procedures is not equipped to provide little Israel’s long-term care,” Snyder wrote in the email. “A facility especially designed for children with brain injuries like Israel’s has already agreed to take him. But the parents do not have the money to get him home — or to get him back into this country at all!”
The pro-life legal group is trying to raise $35,000 by the end of June to help move Israel to the new facility in the U.S. The toddler’s parents have to pay for everything out of pocket, because their health insurance won’t, according to Life Legal. The family has insurance through the same Kaiser hospital group that declared Israel brain dead, according to the group. His journey back to the U.S. also will be extremely expensive because he needs to fly on a specially equipped air ambulance, the group reports. Ultimately, Israel’s family said they hope to be able to care for him at home.
“Israel’s parents are not wealthy people,” Snyder said. “They’re only rich in love.”
Snyder continued: “Faced with the dreadful choice between leaving him at Kaiser Roseville to die or sacrificing funds to get him to a caring hospital, they chose escape. How can anyone with a heart think they made the wrong choice?”
“A little boy’s life hangs in the balance. Please don’t let him down!” Snyder ended.
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 in May also indicated that the toddler showed 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.
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.