The CTV report stated:
A city judge has decided she needs more time to consider the arguments in the case of an Alberta family battling Alberta Health Services (AHS) to keep their son on life support.
This means that baby Isaiah James May will not be disconnected from his ventilator Wednesday afternoon as originally planned by AHS and the Stollery Children's Hospital.
Madame Justice Michelle Crighton ruled Tuesday morning in an Edmonton courtroom she will come back with her decision on Jan. 27 after hearing from an independent expert in the emotionally-charged issue.
The lawyer for the May family wants the hospital and health authority to delay their plans for 90 days. Alberta Health Services told the court they are willing to wait only 30 days.
When Isaiah was born in Oct. 2009, he suffered severe oxygen deprivation. Doctors say they've done everything they can. But the parents believe their son is showing signs of improvement.
The boy was born in the Rocky Mountain House Hospital after a difficult 40-hour delivery. On Oct. 24th, 2009 the boy was airlifted to hospital and admitted for treatment. The boy was then placed on a ventilator in the hospital's neonatal intensive care unit.
A letter sent to the parents by Alberta Health Services on Jan. 13stated that the boy's doctors believed all medical procedures had been exhausted. They informed the parents that the boy will never recover from a severe lack of oxygen at birth.
"The diagnosis is unchanged; your son suffered severe anoxic brain injury at birth and has irreversible brain damage. There is no hope of recovery for Isaiah," the letter stated.
It went on to say, "Accordingly, it is with sadness that we are advising you that your treatment team will discontinue mechanical ventilation support to Isaiah after 2 pm Wednesday, January 20, 2010."
Isaiah's mother Rebecka May stated in court documents that her son has continued to grow since his birth.
May said medical staff informed the family that "Isaiah would not grow." But the woman noted that Isaiah has "continued to grow since his birth and now weighs ten pounds eleven ounces."
May also mentioned in documents that her son's pupils dilate, his eyes open daily, and he moves his hands, arms and feet with "increasing frequency."
I think the family made a reasonable request. They are only asking for another 90 days to give Isaiah a further chance to improve. Will one week or thirty days be enough time to allow Isaiah the opportunity to improve?
Medical ethicists and society will honor every decision to withhold or withdraw beneficial medical treatment, upon request, unless it is clearly proven that the person who requested the withholding or withdrawing is incompetent to make the decision.
In the same way, medical ethicists and society should honor decisions to not withhold or withdraw beneficial medical treatment.
We also need to reject the current ethos around futile care theory. In the past, futile medical treatment referred to the actual treatment being futile, meaning that the physiological benefit from the treatment was questionable at best. Now futile care treatment asks the question whether or not the patient is futile.
The Alberta Health Service is not saying that the ventilator is futile, because it is in fact doing exactly what it is designed to do, allowing Isaiah to breath. The Alberta Health Service is saying that Baby Isaiah is futile, meaning that even if Isaiah were to survive, that his life would lack value. I think they are wrong.