Friday, March 23, 2007

Cleveland hospital rejects a terminally ill child (Emilio Gonzales)

A Cleveland hospital rejected a terminally ill child in Austin Wednesday after hospital officials granted the family an extension to keep him on life support.
Jerri Ward, attorney for the family, said 16-month-old Emilio Gonzales was rejected for reasons unknown, but she was trying to find out, so he could get into another hospital.
Seton Hospital officials announced Tuesday night that the child's family has until April 10 to find another place to treat him. Until then, Emilio will remain at the Children's Hospital of Austin, where officials said they will treat him for Leigh's Disease through the 18-day period or until the family finds another hospital.
"They are happy that they have more time to find another hospital that will take Emilio, but the 18 days they have been given will go quick," said Ward.
State Rep. Bryan Hughes and other lawmakers said they have pushed for House Bill 1094, which gives families more time to find treatment for their loved ones. The case has drawn a lot of attention, and lawmakers said it is the perfect example of a mother's fight to save her dying son.
"If doctor decides care is not appropriate, and if that doctor is validated by ethics committee, then, under current law, the family only has 10 days," said Hughes. "From Catarina's experience and hundreds of other families we talked to, 10 days is not enough."
The bill would ensure that hospitals continue treatment pending transfer, giving the patient's family the right to make that decision, not the hospital.
"What they're basically saying is that continued life is not of benefit to the patient, and that is not their right to decide," Ward said.