After Months of Fighting, Toddler Abruptly Taken Off Life Support

'He's gone,' says mom
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 26, 2016 12:20 PM CDT
After Months of Fighting, Toddler Abruptly Taken Off Life Support
This May 12, 2016, photo provided by Alexandra Snyder shows 2-year-old Israel Stinson at Kaiser Permanente Roseville Medical Center in Roseville, Calif.   (Alexandra Snyder via AP)

Israel Stinson, 2, had a bad asthma attack on April 1, went into cardiac arrest, and was declared brain-dead at UC Davis Medical Center. Nearly five months of legal battling ensued, as the California toddler's parents—who did not agree with the prognosis—fought to keep him on life support. The fight ended abruptly Thursday, after what the Sacramento Bee calls a "surprise ruling" by a Los Angeles Superior Court judge that the boy be removed from life support. He stopped breathing almost immediately. "He's gone," Israel's mom Jonee Fonseca tells the Bee. At the beginning of the saga, she and Israel's dad, Nate Stinson, initially had Israel transferred from Davis to Kaiser Permanente in Roseville; that hospital also determined he was brain-dead, the Washington Post reports.

They refused to sign a California death certificate issued by Kaiser, started a GoFundMe campaign, and filed an injunction to stop Kaiser from removing him from the ventilator. All the while, they posted videos and updates for their supporters and got pro bono support from lawyers. A federal judge rejected the injunction in May, so Israel's parents took him to Guatemala, where, according to his parents, an electroencephalogram showed brain activity. Children's Hospital in Los Angeles then accepted Israel, and he was brought there about two weeks ago—but doctors at Children's agreed he was brain-dead and sought to take him off life support. Israel's parents were granted a temporary restraining order, but the hospital successfully appealed. (The family of Jahi McMath is in a similar fight.)

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