“God chose to call his angel back home.”
Seeing a child suffer is never easy, and in many ways, watching a young life deteriorate goes against the most basic laws of nature.
Sadly, this can’t have a happy ending in ever case, and some childhoods are cut short far too soon.
One of the trickiest situations both legally and medically is when a patient is completely unresponsive and will not regain consciousness. Though “brain death” is typically considered legal death, medical and technological advancements have allowed us to keep people alive even after they’ve been declared brain dead; keeping the heart beating, lungs breathing, and blood flowing even when the brain can’t control these functions involuntarily.
But brain death is not the only traumatic brain injury we hear about in our lives or in the news, which can make understanding these emotional cases even more complicated. The story of two-year-old Israel Stinson is one of these all too complicated situations, and a difference in medical opinion ultimately led to his untimely death.
Israel’s mother begged the hospital not to take him off life support.
How It Started
It all started in April 2016 with an asthma attack.
According to the Center for Disease Control, 1 in 13 Americans have asthma, and nearly 60% of children with the disease suffer from it persistently.
Israel Stinson, a two-year-old boy from California, suffered an asthma attack last spring and was left unconscious. The toddler was rushed to a hospital in Sacramento where he had a heart attack, and his brain was left without oxygen for 40 minutes before doctors were able to resuscitate him with CPR.
But the battle was just beginning.
Brain Dead Alive
Even after he regained a heartbeat, the doctors determined that Israel was brain dead. But his mother, Jonee Fonseca, wasn’t convinced. In fact, she wouldn’t accept it. That’s when she and her husband, Nathaniel Stinson, started their legal battle against the medical system.
Israel was put on a ventilator and soon moved to the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Roseville, California, but when he arrived he was declared brain dead for a second time, and doctors warned that regardless of life support, his heart would soon stop beating. For the five weeks Israel spent there, doctors refused to feed him and denied him a feeding tube, and his only sustenance was sugar.
That’s when Jonee got in touch with the Life Legal Defense Foundation, a legal advocate for tricky cases such as these that vowed to fight for Israel’s right to life.