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Parents fighting hospital to keep 2-year-old son on life support

Lisa Bourne Lisa Bourne Follow Lisa
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A letter left by Israel’s mother, Jonee Fonseca, for healthcare workers.
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SACRAMENTO, California, April 15, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – A little California boy’s life hangs in the balance as his parents fight to keep him alive during a legal dispute over his condition, with a judge today granting a temporary reprieve while they seek answers.

Two-year-old Israel Stinson's parents were in Placer County Superior Court this morning petitioning to keep their son on life support until the boy can be assessed by an outside specialist, after the hospital declared him brain-dead and said his treatment would be withdrawn.  

Life Legal Defense Foundation (LLDF) had obtained a temporary restraining order yesterday enjoining Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Sacramento from stopping the treatment necessary to keep Israel’s condition stable in the meantime. This morning they successfully petitioned for an extension, allowing Israel’s Stinson’s family time to get a second opinion.

The family’s attorney Alexandra Snyder was happy with the outcome, telling LifeSiteNews, “This is honestly a miracle that the court ordered an extension of one more week to give the family time.”

“We got what we expected and what we hoped for,” she said.

Israel Stinson was taken to the ER at Mercy General Hospital in Sacramento April 1 after suffering a severe asthma attack. The hospital stabilized him and recommended he be transferred to UC Davis Medical Center, because Mercy did not have a pediatric care unit. He was transported later the same day.

“They took his tube out and he was okay,” Snyder said.

The day after his admission to UC Davis, Israel Stinson suffered another attack, during which he stopped breathing and went into cardiac arrest while his mother searched for medical staff to attend to him. He was resuscitated and put on a ventilator.

At the family’s request Israel was moved April 12 to Kaiser Permanente Roseville Medical Center, because they were concerned about his care at UC Davis, and his mother thought he would need to be treated there due to the insurance she carried.

Their intent in sending him to Kaiser was for care, Snyder told LifeSiteNews. But less than 24 hours after his transfer to Kaiser, the hospital informed his parents of its intent to test Israel to determine his brain activity, and indicated his life support would likely be withdrawn.

“They said, ‘We’re going to take him off life support,’ said Snyder. “The family had not heard that at UC Davis.”

Israel’s mother Jonee Fonseca, posted notes around his hospital room expressly instructing Kaiser not to perform any tests on him without her permission, informing the hospital she was seeking a restraining order.

Despite this, Kaiser conducted the tests anyway against her wishes, and declared him brain dead, prompting her to reach out to LLDF for help. The legal foundation has been involved in the defense of Center for Medical Progress investigator David Daleiden, and was part of the coalition that worked over the last two years to raise awareness of an illegal Alabama abortion mill, closed earlier this year.

Attorney Snyder said the same thing may also have happened at the previous hospital, but regardless of the circumstances, California law mandates a second opinion in cases of declared brain death.

Further, she said, doctors have expected throughout that Israel’s condition would deteriorate very quickly; however, it has not changed in ten days.

The family will consult with neonatologist and clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of Toledo Doctor Paul Byrne. Byrne is an expert on life issues who advocated for the family of Jahi McMath, the 13-year-old California girl declared brain dead in late 2013 who became the subject of an extensive battle over her condition and care. She later became responsive.

Byrne will make a referral to an in-state doctor who will examine Israel and evaluate his condition, something that another week will be just enough to allow for, Snyder told LifeSiteNews.

Numerous instances have been reported of patients having been declared brain dead, only later to recover, and Snyder said the definition of brain death is the subject of some dispute in California.

Snyder also said the family is well aware of the gravity of Israel’s situation.

“They know their son is not in good shape,” she said. “But they are people of strong faith, and they believe that God is in control.”

“But they do believe that it is their job to fight for their son,” she continued. “And they will fight for him.”

Israel Stinson’s parents would like to encourage other families in their situation, said Snyder.

“Regardless of what happens with their case,” Snyder told LifeSiteNews, “they want to show other families that they can fight for their kids.”

She and Israel’s parents are due back in court next Friday morning, April 22.

“We are grateful for this additional week,” said Snyder.

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