Friday, December 25, 2015

A withdrawal of support tale

Pinehurst, Texas resident George Pickering pulled out a 9mm handgun at Tomball Regional Medical Center to save his son. Remembering the incident that happened 11 months back, Pickering II admitted that he was aggressive and drunk on that day. The hospital staff called police for help as Pickering was trying to save his son.

Pickering’s son, George Pickering III was on life support. He had a history of seizures. But, after he suffered a massive stroke in January, he went into coma. After the doctors didn’t see much improvement in his condition, they decided to pull out the life support systems.

As the father of the patient was aggressive and inebriated, hospital staff appointed Pickering's ex-wife and his other son to make decisions for George III, and had alerted an organ donor organization as to his imminent death. After the hospital approved a “terminal wean” — which slowly removes life support — George II decided it was time to act, he said.

As he rushed to the hospital with a gun, he staged a siege to save his son. “During that three hours, George squeezed my hand three or four times on command,” said Pickering.

Trying to save his son and demanding the life support systems to continue, Pickering yelled, “I’ll kill all of you,” and pointed the gun at hospital workers. A nurse and Pickering’s ex-wife left after he reportedly said, “You don’t think that’s the only weapon I got.”

His other son quickly disarmed Pickering. However, he didn’t surrender to police for hours. The stand-off between SWAT officers and Pickering II led to lot of tension in the hospital. Pickering was finally arrested by SWAT officers.

He was charged with two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. One of his charges was later dropped and other was changed to state jail felony.

When Pickering Senior finally got the answer he needed from his son, he handed himself over to authorities peacefully after a three-hour stand-off. His son is now out of the coma and fully recovered after a miraculous turn of events.

"They were moving too fast. The hospital, the nurses, the doctors. I knew if I had three or four hours that night that I would know whether George was brain-dead," the elder Pickering said. He agrees to the charges of being drunk and violent on that fateful night when he threatened the hospital staff. But in his defense, he said that his son was not ready to die just yet, he still had to live.

Pickering was released from jail this month. Pickering II added that one can call it ‘Father’s Intuition’. He was sure that his son wasn’t brain dead and he decided that it was time for him to do something.

Pickering’s son has made a miraculous recovery. He is now celebrating Christmas with his father. “The important thing is I'm alive and well, my father is home and we're together again,” George Pickering III said.


  1. “Hey, we need the police stat, to the hospital. We have a family member with a gun.”

    This is the call that a staff member at Tomball Regional Medical Center put in 11 months ago, when George Pickering of Pinehurst, Tex., angrily pulled out a 9 mm handgun while standing at his son’s hospital bedside.

    Gary Hammond, Tomball police’s head of criminal investigations, told the Houston Chronicle at the time that Pickering was “distraught” over the care his son, George Pickering III, was receiving. The younger Pickering was on life support after having a stroke.

    According to witnesses, Pickering yelled, “I’ll kill all of you,” and pointed the gun at hospital workers. A nurse and Pickering’s ex-wife left after he reportedly said, “You don’t think that’s the only weapon I got.”

    Although Pickering was quickly disarmed by another son who was also at the hospital, he refused to surrender to police officers, resulting in an hours-long standoff with SWAT officers in the hospital room, as Pickering held his son’s hand all the while.

    Eventually, he was coaxed into surrendering, according to the Chronicle. The incident landed Pickering behind bars on two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon — for which he was released from jail just this month...

    Along with Pickering’s freedom has come a chance at redemption, as the father recently told KPRC why he felt compelled to threaten violence that day.

    It was because he wanted to save his son’s life.

    Pickering recounted that his son had had seizures in the past, so he knew the procedure. He also knew that contrary to what the hospital told him in January, his son wasn’t “brain dead.”

    Call it father’s intuition. Something told Pickering that the hospital was wrong to order a “terminal wean,” which would have slowly removed his son from life support. According to KPRC, someone had even already notified an organ donation organization of an incoming donation.“They were moving too fast. The hospital, the nurses, the doctors,” Pickering told KPRC. “I knew if I had three or four hours that night that I would know whether George was brain dead.”

    No one was listening, Pickering said, so he bided his time the only way he could think of — by pulling out a gun.

    “At that point I had blinders on,” said Pickering, who admitted that he was drunk while the incident unfolded. “All I knew I just needed to have this time with George.”

    His desperate strategy worked. During the hours in which Pickering refused to leave his son’s room even at the behest of SWAT officers, he felt his son squeeze his hand several times on command. With confirmation that his son was responsive and wasn’t brain dead as doctors believed, Pickering peacefully surrendered...

    Today, George Pickering III is healthy and fully recovered, an indication perhaps of his father’s prescience. According to KPRC, the pair share “an unbreakable bond,” running a small electrical engineering business and building their own home together.

    The younger Pickering, his father’s spitting image, was moved after learning about what took place.

    “Everything good that made me a man is because of that man sitting next to me,” he said. “There was a law broken, but it was broken for all the right reasons. I’m here now because of it. It was love.”

  2. After receiving the news from doctors that his son, who had recently suffered a series of strokes, was essentially brain dead and could soon be taken off life support, a desperate father said he entered a hospital in Tomball, Texas, prepared to kill himself if his son were to die.

    With a 9mm handgun in his waistband, George Pickering, 59, said he went into his son’s room at Tomball Regional Medical Center’s intensive care unit on Jan. 10 and was informed that the life support keeping him alive could soon be removed. The tragic news set Pickering off. He pulled out his handgun and ordered everyone to get out of the room because, the dad explained to TheBlaze, it was his time to be with his son.

    Pickering’s actions set in motion what would be a four-hour standoff with police at the hospital — but during that time, he said, a “miracle” occurred.

    Shortly after the standoff began, Pickering said another son actually wrestled the gun away from him. At that point, it basically became a “verbal standoff” with authorities, he said.

    As police and a SWAT team surrounded the hospital, Pickering said he prayed and talked to his adult son, who was still on life support. He was left astonished by what he witnessed.

    “Squeeze my hand if you can hear me, Georgie,” Pickering whispered to his son.

    The father said he felt a squeeze. He repeated the command.

    “He squeezed my hand four times,” he recalled. “It was a miracle! I knew my son was not brain dead. I knew my son was not a vegetable. I am his father, I would’ve felt something.”.

    After four tense hours, Pickering surrendered to police peacefully, believing he had done enough to prove that his son should be kept alive. Prior to the incident, he reported being disturbed by hospital staff’s hasty discussions about harvesting his 27-year-old son’s organs. He said he did not have the medical power of attorney over his son.

    Later that night, his son woke up.

    Pickering said he rolled over in his bed, looked at his stepmother and said, “I love you momma.”

    It wasn’t immediately clear how the reported decision to remove the son from life support was made or if other family members were involved.

    “I have no regrets,” he told TheBlaze. “I can’t have any regrets. Nobody got hurt — well, except for me I guess. I was never planning to hurt anybody.”...

    “He’s walking and talking and thinking clearly and remembering his passcode. It’s really a blessing,” the father said, though he’s still struggling through cognitive issues similar to what an NFL player who has been hit too many times in the head might go through...

    Regarding the hospital’s actions, Zbylot[family minister]is conflicted. He said the hospital is filled with “good people” who were likely just following the organ-harvesting protocol. But he wonders if there needs to be a change.

    Still, he’s not casting stones: “Was he brain dead and God healed him? If so, that’s not malpractice, that’s a miracle!”

  3. In a different vein, see