Two year-old Israel Stinson was removed from life support by the LA Children’s Hospital on Thursday afternoon. The toddler’s removal comes after a legal dispute that lasted months between the family and medical officials.
The Los Angeles Supreme Court Judge making a ruling to take the brain-dead child off life support came as shock to the family and attorneys of Stinson.
“He’s gone,” said Jonee Fonseca, Isreal’s mother, as she tearfully sat by his bedside.
Around 3 p.m. on Thursday, doctors removed Israel from his ventilator and he stopped breathing almost immediately after.
The Israel Stinson saga dates back to April of this year, when he was first brought to Mercy Hospital emergency room. The toddler was experiencing a severe respiratory attack from asthma; however, he was soon transferred to UC Davis Medical Center, where he went into cardiac arrest. After nearly an hour of CPR, doctors declared the child brain-dead.
This started Fonseca’s legal battle to keep her son alive. After moving Stinson to Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, Fonseca filed a federal appeal to keep her son on life support because she believed her son still had brain activity. Attorneys representing the medical center argued that Stinson’s condition would not get better. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued an order requiring Kaiser Permanente Medical Center to keep Stinson on life support while it considered his mother's appeal.
When the deadline for the appeal approached, Fonseca sought other facilities that would accept her son and keep him alive. In May, Stinson was moved to a medical facility in Guatemala, where a pediatric neurologist said Israel was not brain-dead based on an electroencephalogram that showed some brain activity.
The family remained in Guatemala until about two weeks ago, when Stinson was accepted to the LA Children’s Hospital. After the two-year-old was admitted into the hospital, doctors ran cognitive tests and determined that he was brain-dead and should be removed from life support. The Children’s Hospital and Fonseca and her attorney, Alexandra Snyder, argued both sides in court and yesterday the judge ruled in favor of the hospital.
Although she was just an attorney for the family, Snyder was equally as shocked by the decision.
“That is something every family has to decide for themselves, not a choice that should be imposed upon somebody,” Snyder said.
A spokesperson for the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles had no comment regarding the recent judgment.
(Photo: Thomas Northcut/Getty Images)