The parents of a two-year-old California boy on life support have won a crucial interim victory in the fight to keep their son alive, the latest in a lengthy dispute over his condition and care.
Israel Stinson was airlifted to a hospital in an undisclosed location outside the United States on Saturday after weeks of searching for a facility that would provide him treatment in preparation for long-term care, in a case hinging on the contested issue of the legal definition of brain death.
The Sacramento-area Kaiser Permanente facility where Israel Stinson had been since mid-April had declared him brain dead shortly after his arrival, eschewing treatment since then and providing the child only minimal nutrition while acting to remove him from life support.
“Victory!” his Israel’s mother Jonee Fonseca said in a statement Sunday. “Israel Stinson was transferred out of Kaiser Permanente yesterday. He has been taken to another facility and is already receiving treatment.”
“It is remarkable that Israel was given more treatment in the first five hours at the new hospital than in more than five weeks at the Kaiser facility,” Life Legal Defense Fund (LLDF) Executive Director Alexandra Snyder told LifeSiteNews.
Fonseca said because of the sensitivity of her son’s case, the family is not yet prepared to release his location.
“But we can say this, in order for Israel to receive his badly needed care, he had to be transferred out of the United States,” Fonseca stated. “That’s right. After weeks and weeks of searching, no hospital facility in the United States would accept our son.”
The difficulty securing a facility to accept and treat Israel while the family sought long-term care stemmed from Kaiser’s doctors having declared him brain dead, despite the conflicting opinions of specialists retained by the family.
Snyder told LifeSiteNews that doctors at the facility where Israel is now have also said the boy is not brain dead.
“A neurologist and Israel's pediatric specialist did an extensive examination and determined that Israel is not brain dead,” she said. “This doesn't mean he is out of the woods, as he does have a severe brain injury. But at least he is being provided treatment and nutrition now.”
Israel’s mother celebrated the fact that her son is now being “treated like a patient” and receiving basic nutrition and care.
“Israel’s medical chart at Kaiser said he was deceased. But Israel is alive!” Fonseca said. “He is right now receiving nutrients and a treatment protocol for the first time in 6 weeks.”…
Less than 24 hours after his arrival at Kaiser, the hospital performed brain function testing on Israel, without the family’s full knowledge or consent and against their wishes, prompting Fonseca to contact LLDF for help.
The legal battle began with a temporary restraining order enjoining Kaiser from removing life support to allow the family to find an interim facility for Israel, the ultimate goal being long-term care. The family was looking at New Jersey for this since its state law does not allow for a declaration of brain death in cases where the family members believe that life continues until the heart stops beating.
Fonseca and Israel’s father Nate Stinson have maintained throughout that Israel has been responsive to their touch and voices, as well as music, and they have relied openly on their faith to get them through…
“While an important goal of this case has been achieved, it has also raised serious questions about the constitutionality of the California Uniform Determination of Death Act,” Matt McReynolds stated in a report by The Sacramento Bee. “It has become clear that declarations of brain death do not always reflect medical consensus and do not comport with basic notions of due process. These legal claims have not been mooted, and we will be evaluating how best to pursue these important constitutional questions.”