Hospital Refused to Treat Israel, Calling Him “Brain Dead.” Now He’s Heading Home

National   |   Steven Ertelt, Micaiah Bilger   |   Aug 10, 2016   |   1:52PM   |   Washington, DC

Little Israel Stinson, the 2-year-old who nearly lost his life when a hospital tried to pull the plug on him, is heading home soon. That’s after one hospital called him “brain dead” and refused to treat him.

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 Defense Foundation, which is representing Israel and his family, said he has improved so much that he is ready to leave the hospital. From an update it shared with today:

Israel Stinson, the toddler who suffered an asthma attack that left him with a brain injury, is back in the United States. Israel had been treated at a hospital in Northern California, but the hospital threatened to remove Israel from life support. Life Legal intervened and was able to obtain a court order to keep the toddler alive so he could be moved to another facility. Israel’s parents wanted to care for their son at home, but the hospital refused to provide Israel with a breathing tube and feeding tube, which he needed to be transferred to home care. The hospital also refused to feed Israel, saying his digestive system was “not functional” and that trying to feed him would be “catastrophic.”

In May, Israel’s parents found a Catholic hospital in Central America that was willing to perform the life-saving procedures. Israel responded very well to receiving both the breathing tube and the feeding tube.

Once he had proper nutrition, the toddler was able to be taken off of medications that had been needed to stabilize his blood pressure. He continues to move in response to his parents’ voice and touch.

Israel is now in a hospital in the U.S. while his family makes the arrangements necessary for their son to be cared for at home.

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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.

Donations to help Israel can be made here.

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.