Brain-Dead Toddler Gets Court Grant for More Life Support

By Jenn Loro - 22 May '16 21:28PM

The mother of a toddler recently declared as brain-dead sought legal reprieve from the court to stop a hospital from cutting off life support to her son. To her relief, a federal appeals court granted the request.

Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Roseville has been ordered by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to maintain 2-year-old Israel Stinson's life support while reviewing the mother's request. Previously, a lower court granted a life support extension for the toddler but it expired last Friday.

Jonee Fonseca, Israel's mother, argued that she needs ample time to search for a more suitable facility. On the other hand, the hospital argues that the toddler's condition is helpless and that they have given the Israel's parents more than enough time to look for another facility.

The 9th Circuit did not specify a timeframe for the life support extension in the court order but required both parties tons of paperwork which could stretch through Wednesday next week. The court also advised the parents to provide regular updates on their ongoing efforts of finding a more preferable location.

"We continue to appreciate the seriousness with which the courts are approaching these life-and-death decisions, and we will be working through the weekend to address the latest questions posed by the 9th Circuit," said Atty. Matthew McReynolds, a lawyer for the Fonsecas as quoted by Sacramento Bee.

"Every day is a gift, and both we and Israel's family are going to make the most of it by presenting the strongest possible legal arguments and at the same time seeking a better placement where he can have the opportunity to improve and thrive."

Kaiser Permanente stated that they would comply with the court's order and continue to work with the family in facilitating Israel's transfer as soon as the alternative facility has been identified. However, the medical institution strongly contends that Israel's condition can no longer improve because the patient has already suffered "permanent, irreversible and total cessation of all brain functions" and an extended meaningless life support would rob the toddler of a dignified death, CBS News reported.

Israel Stinson's case bears resemblance to Jahi McMath who was pronounced brain dead following a surgery to treat sleep apnea. A growing movement nationwide has been fighting for greater transparency and accountability in the process in which patients are declared dead by medical institutions.

"The hospital declared him brain dead before he showed signs of improvement," remarked Alexandra Snyder, executive director for Napa-based Life Legal Defense Foundation, NBC Bay Area reported. "So then it could argue that it didn't have to treat him."

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