Link to the story: http://edmonton.ctv.ca/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20100118/edm_lifesupport_100118/20100118/?hub=EdmontonHome
The story states:
A mother and father from Rocky Mountain House are set to fight Alberta Health Services and the Stollery Children's Hospital to keep their infant son on life support.
Isaiah James May was born in October after suffering 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. 13th stated 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 p.m. 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."
A lawyer representing the family will be in court Tuesday attempting to get a 90-day injunction. Court documents are requesting that the hospital be restrained from removing the boy off life support care, and direct the hospital to provide complete disclosure of Isaiah's medical records.
I have spoken to Rebecka on several occasions and I consider her to be honest, realistic and straight forward. The family is asking for a 90 day injunction to provide time for Isaiah to continue improving. Many people have witnessed Isaiah's movements with more time to improve he is likely to survive.
Isaiah appears to be a victim of futile care theory. Futile care theory suggests that even though the life-sustaining treatment is beneficial for Isaiah and may in fact lead to his survival, that he is not deserving of the treatment because even if he does survive, his life is considered futile. Another article on the CTV Edmonton website was about the possible closure of beds at a hospital in Edmonton.
The goal for the family is to bring Isaiah home and care for him themselves. They know how much work they would be required to do to care for him at home, but they are willing to accept that responsibility.
The hospital is overstepping its role by unilaterally deciding when to remove life-sustaining treatment from a child that is improving. Stories like these are particularly distressing in Canada because the Government is the sole provider of health care and is able to withhold treatment, even when the family has clearly expressed the desire to continue treatment. This baby needs more time. The family wants to care for their baby and I believe the hospital should be doing their best to allow that to happen.