regarding withdrawing care 4 kids

  1. I was reminded, in the thread about the poor bub from Australia, of the baby a few years (a decade?) ago who 'choked' on a bit of a balloon, and had really severe brain damage. I think it was in California. In the other thread someone said it was the law to provide nutrition and then someone else countered that statement.

    Does anyone remember that story? The baby (he may have been 1 year or 18 months old) was on respirators etc. and the family wanted him taken off so he could die, as he was suffering in their opinion. For some reason this was not allowed... whether against the law or unethical, I'm not sure.

    Anyway the dad went in to see and hold the baby, who I guess had a private room. I think he unplugged the machine or pulled the tubes, and when the nurses came in the room he calmly pulled out his pistol and wouldn't let them near the baby. Of course the baby died. He was subsequently arrested... for murder maybe, I'm not sure.

    I guess my question is, does anyone know for sure what the law IS* in the US? The poor family in the story above had the sympathy of most of the nation, but "someone" wouldn't let them withdraw care legally, so the father did what he felt was necessary. Very sad. Comments?
  2. Visit NurseWeasel profile page

    About NurseWeasel

    Joined: Nov '02; Posts: 516; Likes: 15
    CCU RN
    Specialty: 2 year(s) of experience in Float Pool, ICU/CCU, Med/Surg, Onc, Tele


  3. by   ShandyLynnRN
    I never heard about that. What was the outcome for the dad? Did he get convicted??? I have no clue what the laws are reguarding that!
  4. by   sanakruz
    These stories abound.
    About 15 years ago in Ct. a dad did this- went into The room and killed the brain dead child.
    He was not prosecuted.
    I never heard of that story you mention and have lived in CA for 17 yrs.
    I know of no such law that would prevent the will of the parents from superceding any thing else.
    Some times these stories take on the sound of an urban legend.
  5. by   sanakruz
    Had the Dad done this in CA-
    1) Unlawful display of a firearm (could be felonious.)
    2) Reckless endangerment (felonious)
    3) False imprisonmen(Of the staff!)(felonious)
    Then if he was indeed charged with these things during an arraignment hearing, counsel would be arranged and a plea eventually entered. Bargaining would indeed occur. It's just not that black or white
  6. by   longtermcarern
    A few years back a local DR here had pulled the plug on his preamie infant that had multiple problems. The infant died, he was charged and tried for either murder or manslaughter, I don't remember which. In any event, he was found not guilty. As far as I know he is still practicing (dermatologist). I know he had a lot of community support and the feeling was just because we have the knowledge and means to save some lives there are times when we should not.
  7. by   Agnus
    You know I have to wonder when this stuff gets to the press and even the courts.
    I work where we withdraw life support all the time. Granted they are adults but a life is a life.
    If the child is truly completely brain dead then he is leagally dead, with or without life support. However, brain dead must be total. If even a part of the brain still functions it is not leagal death. It must be proven not just on the say so or opinion of a MD. There are specific procedures used to proove it.

    Most of the people whom we withdraw support from are not brain dead. However, it is done legally and ethically and privately. With the full mutual support of the MD, staff and family.
  8. by   NurseWeasel
    Thanks everyone for the replies. This is definitely not an urban legend, maybe it was the one in Connecticut. I absolutely remember this being one of those hot TV topics, covered on Good Morning America, Oprah, and mainstream magazines. The father was arrested, but I don't think he was convicted. I believe the reason it got to the press was that the father took a gun into the hospital. He didn't point it at anyone that I recall, or "really" threaten anyone (a whole other topic), just laid it on the bedside table and told everyone to stay out while he held the baby. He was quite nonconfrontational about it, other than that the docs or courts or whoever had told him he could not let his baby die. Eventually, he ended up letting in a nurse or two for palliative care type treatment (I have no idea what, exactly), some nurses that he trusted. Anyway, as I said I don't recall where it was. The baby had been to a birthday party and brought home the balloon. It popped on the living room floor and mom didn't realize it before the baby picked up a piece and 'ate' it. She noticed him not breathing and grabbed the baby and literally RAN to the hospital... it wasn't too far away. I vividly remember this story because of the admonition to ALWAYS pick up broken balloon pieces, even if you don't have babies. Pets can have problems with the pieces too.
  9. by   coolh2o
    The story is true about the baby choking on the balloon. It happened in Chicago in the late 80's (I live in a suburb). No balloons were ever allowed in the house when my kids were very small and I yell now if they put them anywhere near their mouths. My hubby is a RT and me being a RN, NO balloons!