Two families at a children’s hospital in Philadelphia are fighting to keep their sons on life support against doctors’ wishes.
Rumpa Banarjee and Anna and Jonathan Auyeung are pursuing legal action to stop the hospital from removing their sons’ life support, Fox 29 News reports.
Their cases come just a few weeks after a British family unsuccessfully fought for treatment for their son, Alfie Evans. The toddler lived for several days after the hospital yanked his life support, but the courts refused to let the family transfer Alfie to a hospital in Italy.
In the latest case, doctors at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, or CHOP, said Areen Chakrabarti, 14, and Jayden Auyeung, 10, are brain dead and should be removed from life support.
Both boys’ parents want their sons to continue to receive treatment. They hope to transfer their sons to hospitals in New Jersey, which differentiates between clinical death and brain death.
Several weeks ago, Areen was transferred from a New Jersey hospital to CHOP after he was injured in a fire at the family’s home in Bordentown, New Jersey, according to the Daily Mail. The 14-year-old was unconscious when firefighters found him in the home, suffering from severe smoke inhalation.
Doctors later said Areen was brain dead and told his mother that, pending further testing, they may remove her son’s life support even if she objected, the report states.
“They were about to take the life support away. I cannot let it happen. It’s a murder. It’s a murder in my faith,” Rumpa Banarjee told Fox 29.
“I know my son is alive and will come back to me. He just needs some time to recover from the trauma,” she said on their GoFundMe page.
The parents of 10-year-old Jayden Auyeung face a very similar situation.
Transferred from a New Jersey hospital several weeks ago, Jayden was declared brain dead after suffering from cardiac arrest, Fox News reports.
Daily Mail reports more:
Anna and Jonathan Auyeung filed for a temporary restraining order in Common Pleas Court [last week] to keep their 10-year-old son Jayden alive. …
Jayden, who suffers from a genetic motor neuron disease, was rushed to the hospital after a mucus plug developed in his throat and blocked his airway.
His parents said Jayden responds when they talk to him or touch him, often by moving his mouth or fingers. They said doctors argue that these movements are just a “spinal reflex.”
Last week, the family learned that CHOP wanted to remove their son’s life support, with or without their consent. They filed a lawsuit for an emergency injunction on religious grounds; the family is Catholic and Buddhist.
“I have to keep my promise to my child, because I know he’s fighting, too,” Anna Auyeung told Fox 29. “He can’t open his eyes and talk to me, but I know he’s fighting.”
Earlier this year, Alfie Evans’ family went through an extensive legal battle to stop a British hospital from removing their son’s life support and to request that he be transferred to an Italian hospital for treatment. However, they lost the battle, and the toddler died in April, five days after being removed from life support.
The legal battle sparked anger internationally as people stood up for Alfie’s parents and strongly opposed courts and hospitals making life and death decisions for patients over their families’ objections. Pope Francis even spoke on Alfie’s behalf and urged that his parents be allowed to bring him to Italy.
Alfie Evans is not the first little boy to be held hostage by the court system and the healthcare system. There have been many other cases where courts and doctors made life or death decisions for a patient over the objections of their family.
One of those cases involved an infant named Charlie Gard. In a very similar circumstance, the British courts decided that his parents did not have the right to make the decision about his life support. Charlie died not long after the hospital removed his life support. Chris Gard and Connie Yates’ little boy passed away just before his 1st birthday in July 2017.