Posted on October 16, 2018 at 8:23 AM
Court may be establishing dangerous precedent concerning the resolution of
conflicts over the determination of death by neurological criteria.
On Sept. 25, 2018, nine-year-old Payton Summons was determined dead
when she arrived at Cook Children’s Medical Center. But doctors were prohibited
from doing confirmatory testing.
On October 1, 2018, State District Judge Melody Wilkinson issued a
14-day TRO that prohibited clinicians from conducting the testing or from
removing life support.
On October 15, 2018, Judge Wilkinson granted Payton’s parents
(Tiffany Hofstetter and Joseph Summons) an additional week to seek out a health
care facility that would care for their cancer-ridden daughter. (HT Star
On October 22, 2018, the hospital may conduct tests to determine if
Payton is dead. If she is, then it will remove organ-sustaining support.
Notably, the two rounds of orders have prohibited the hospital from conducting
tests to determine if Payton is alive or dead. Consequently, Texas may now join
California, Kansas, and Montana as states that recognize (at least temporary)
parental rights to refuse apnea testing. Nevada, New York, and Virginia take
the opposite approach.
Remarkably, attorneys for Payton’s parents represented that several hospitals
have expressed interest in admitting Payton. This is remarkable, because these
facilities (like Cook) do not know whether Payton is alive or dead.