Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Request to remove life support from 6-month old boy withdrawn

Dallas, Texas - A request to withdraw life support from a severely disabled 6-month-old boy, whose parents have been arrested on charges of abusing him, has been withdrawn. As reported in the Dallas News, 6-month-old David Coronado Jr., who has severe brain and spinal injuries, as well as numerous other skin and skeletal injuries as a result of his abuse, has been in intensive care since last month when he stopped breathing and was rushed to a hospital to be resuscitated. The baby’s court-appointed guardian, who requested last week that David's life support be removed, told a juvenile court judge yesterday (Tuesday) that doctors have determined there has been a change in his condition, though it's not known what that change is. Here is an excerpt from the Dallas News report:
A doctor reported in December that he expected David to suffer severe disabilities if he survived. It is unclear if doctors now expect the baby to remain in a vegetative or minimally conscious state.

Meanwhile, word of the possible hearing on withdrawing the child's life support had spread over the weekend among right-to-life and disabilities-rights groups, at least one of which readied attorneys to intervene Tuesday morning.

"Brains are very resilient, and in a 6-month-old baby, to conclude that he's neurologically devastated and is going to stay permanently that way I think is irresponsible," said Jerri Lynn Ward, an attorney representing Not Dead Yet, a disabilities-rights group.

Schreier's motion to allow support to be withdrawn did not explain her reasoning, other than to say that it was in the baby's best interest and that she had discussed the issue with doctors at Children's.

The motion does not make clear the hospital's stance. Texas' "futile-care" law outlines a procedure that allows a hospital's ethics committee to authorize withdrawal of support over a family's objections in some cases. The baby is in temporary CPS custody, but the agency has not taken a position.

The motion noted that the baby's parents have not consented to any withdrawal of life support. David Cesar Coronado Sr., 23, and Ruthy Marie Chabolla, 22, are accused of abusing their only child so cruelly that he has been in intensive care since last month, when he stopped breathing and was rushed to a hospital to be resuscitated.

In addition to severe brain and spinal cord injuries, a doctor reported the baby had 42 separate skeletal injuries and numerous skin injuries that included human bite marks. Many of the fractures had healed some, the doctor said, indicating they were several weeks old. Both parents have denied deliberately hurting their child, telling police that the injuries may have occurred while the baby slept with them.

Further details of this terribly sad story are here. Earlier reports are here and here.

Thoughts are with you, David.