Court orders hospital to keep Texas girl, 9, on life support

October 01, 2018 - 8:33 pm

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — The parents of a 9-year-old North Texas girl who has cancer obtained a temporary court order Monday to block a hospital from disconnecting their daughter from life support.

Doctors at Cook Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth had planned to remove Payton Summons from life support at noon Monday against her parents' wishes. However, the parents obtained a 14-day restraining order blocking the hospital from removing the child from the ventilator that keeps her breathing.

The couple's attorney, Justin Moore, said the delay was necessary to allow them time to find another medical facility willing to keep Payton alive. State District Judge Melody Wilkinson has scheduled a Friday morning hearing to reconsider the order after further developments, however.

Payton has cancer, with a tumor that cut off her circulation, said hospital attorney Laura Copeland.

"She has a tumor that is crushing her heart and lungs," Copeland said.

The girl was in cardiac arrest when she arrived at the hospital on Sept. 25, according to a statement Monday from Cook Children's Medical Center. She was given CPR for a total of an hour at home and the hospital.

"Our physicians and nurses were able to revive her heartbeat, but they were unsuccessful in resuscitating her breathing," the hospital statement said.

The cardiac arrest had caused "a devastating injury to her brain due to being without oxygen for over an hour," the statement said.

Moore said doctors told the parents on Thursday that their daughter was brain dead, meeting the state's legal definition of death even though her heart still beats.

On Monday, Copeland told the judge: "There is no facility, there is no phone call that could be made, there is no place that will take her. She is dead. It is very traumatic for the staff to have to do things for a patient they know is dead."

Moore, however, said Payton's parents have not given up.

"They simply want to give their child a fighting chance. Far too often, we have seen medical facilities choose profits over care for patients," the attorney said in a statement.

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