A California family has been given a one-week extension by a judge to keep their son, 2-year-old Israel Stinson, on life support. Israel was declared brain-dead after an asthma attack left him without oxygen for 40 minutes April 1, CBS News reports.
U.S. District Judge Kimberly Mueller in Sacramento, Calif., ruled that the family could have an additional week to appeal her decision and possibly make arrangements for the child's long-term care, since two hospitals have determined that he is brain-dead. The court, however, rejected a plea by Israel's mother, Jonee Fonseca, for a permanent court order while accommodations are being made for the child's care.
"He's alive, he's definitely still alive," Fonseca told CBS Sacramento. "Now not only is he responding to our touch and our voice, but I've seen him take breaths off the ventilator; it's very hopeful and a good feeling."
Fonseca's attorney, Kevin Snider, told the news station that the family will appeal the judge's decision.
A neonatologist from Ohio who examined Israel told the news station that he believes the 2-year-old could recover with treatment.
"It's helped to maintain his life, but somewhere in this United States, there's got to be a doctor who will stand up and treat him," said Dr. Paul Byrne, president of the Life Guardian Foundation in Ohio.
Mueller indicated that she sympathized with Fonseca's feelings as a mother, but added that the relief she's looking for might be improbable.
"While Ms. Fonseca's maternal instincts and moral position are completely understandable, the concerns reviewed here suggest she is unlikely to obtain the relief she seeks," the judge wrote, CBS reports.
Kaiser Permanente Medical Center's attorneys say their client's concern is that because Israel's condition will not improve, the family is depriving him of the "dignity of death."
"Our hearts go out to this family as they cope with the irreversible brain death of their son," the hospital's chief of staff, Dr. Chris Palkowski, said in a statement after the judge's ruling. However, he added that the hospital will follow the judge's orders.
Israel's father, Nate Stinson, says that he has not given up hope.
"I do feel like it's getting harder, but we made it this far and made it farther than anyone else," Stinson told CBS Sacramento. "I believe that God is with us, and we are going to keep pushing on."