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2-year-old Israel Stinson with his mom Jonee Fonseca
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Toddler’s family still seeking new hospital as doctors could remove his life support Friday

Lisa Bourne Lisa Bourne Follow Lisa

SACRAMENTO, California, May 18, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – The family of Israel Stinson has two more days to find a hospital to take him before the latest extension of a temporary restraining order keeping him alive runs out. Without reprieve from a federal appeals court, the facility where the child is a patient stands ready to remove him from life support.

Last week U.S. District Judge Kimberly Mueller gave the family until this Friday to locate a facility to accept Israel and provide him treatment, the latest in a series of court actions surrounding the case centered on the controversial issue of how brain death is defined.

“The judge denied our petition for a preliminary injunction to keep Israel on life support until a transfer hospital could be found,” Life Legal Defense Foundation (LLDF) Executive Director Alexandra Snyder told LifeSiteNews. “Instead, she extended the current order to close of business on Friday.”

The two-year-old California boy has been the subject of a legal dispute for weeks between Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Sacramento, which has declared him brain dead and seeks to remove him from life support, and his parents Jonee Fonseca and Nate Stinson, who believe he is still alive and would like to move him to a hospital that will provide him long-term care and the opportunity for recovery.

Israel was placed on life support after suffering a severe asthma attack resulting in respiratory and cardiac arrest. Immediately upon his transfer to the Kaiser facility the hospital performed brain function assessments against the family’s wishes before then declaring the toddler brain dead.

His family has reported continued responsiveness from the boy throughout his time at Kaiser; something the hospital denies denotes brain activity.

Two specialists have testified on the family’s behalf that Israel’s condition is not consistent with brain death, indicating as well the boy is in need for proper nutrition and basic treatment, also disputed by Kaiser. The hospital has not provided Israel nutrition beyond Dextrose, the equivalent of 7-Up.

While the hospital contends Israel is brain dead, his heart is still beating and he is still breathing with the support of a ventilator. His family reports he has taken breaths on his own, and that changes in both his heart monitor and ventilator, along with some movements he’s made, have shown him responding to loved ones’ voices and music.

Yesterday LLDF and the Pacific Justice Institute informed the U.S District Court handling the case that they had filed an appeal with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Snyder said. 

The family hopes to move Israel to a facility in New Jersey, where state law does not recognize a declaration of brain death in cases where the family members believe that life continues until the patient’s heart stops beating.

In the meantime they continue to chase down leads on possible facilities.

“We’re still looking for a hospital that will accept Israel as a transfer patient,” Snyder told LifeSiteNews.

Israel grows more active every day, she said, and the specialists who’ve seen him are very encouraged by his response to his mother’s voice and touch.

As this has continued to unfold, Snyder also told LifeSiteNews, LLDF has received numerous calls from parents in similar situations.

“Just today I got a call about a two-year old girl,” she said on Tuesday. “The hospital is going to do the brain death exam tomorrow (Wednesday) and immediately withdraw life support, regardless of the parents’ wishes.”

Snyder said she also received a call from a mother whose son had the same type of brain injury and brain death diagnosis as Israel when he was two, and the child’s mother had done a TED Talk on the experience.

“Five years later, that child is functioning almost at a normal level,” Snyder said. “He is swimming, learning, skiing, etc.”

LLDF continues to accept input offering to help in finding a hospital for Israel. LLDF can be contacted at 707-224-6675 or [email protected]. A GoFundMe account has been put in place to assist with Israel’s move to another facility.

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