Texas Family Sues to Keep 10-Month-Old Baby on Life Support After Hospital Says He's Brain-Dead
A family in Texas is suing a children's hospital to keep their baby on life support, after he was declared brain dead by doctors.
Nick Torres, 10 months, was taken to a Texas hospital on September 24 after he was found unconscious and unresponsive in a bathtub, CNN reported. He was transferred from the hospital's intensive care unit and taken to Texas Children's Hospital.
Within the week, doctors declared Nick brain dead, court documents obtained by CNN reportedly said.
But Nick's parents, Mario and Ana Patricia Torres, believe that because their son's heart is still beating on its own, he has a chance to live.
The couple has sued the hospital to keep Nick on life support, alleging in a complaint obtained by CNN that the hospital had been "rushing to make a decision."
The Texas Children's Hospital's pediatric intensive care unit's senior medical director Dr. Matthew Musick said in court documents that Nick's "current condition and physiological changes have nothing to do with the presence of oxygen provided by the ventilator. In addition, these changes cannot be stopped or slowed by the ventilator or any other service," CNN reported.
The Torres' sought an injunction against Texas Children's and more than $1 million, CNN reported, though a judge denied it. Mario and Ana Patricia were given more time to file an accelerated appeal, and all sides were given until 5 p.m. Wednesday to present evidence to the court, according to the outlet.
The hospital maintains that it is "indisputable medical fact" that Nick showed "signs of postmortem deterioration," court documents said, according to CNN, and that he had "developed progressive signs of organ failure, including cardiac failure."
The hospital said that multiple evaluations, including one from the Texas Medical Center, showed "complete cessation of all spontaneous brain activity," deeming Nick dead according to state law, CNN reported.
Texas Children's Hospital told PEOPLE's in a statement, "Our hearts are with the entire Torres family as they go through this unimaginable situation. We know losing a child is incredibly difficult for any family. Texas Children's seeks to provide the most compassionate and appropriate care possible to every patient we serve."
The Torres' attorney Kevin Acevedo told CNN that the case is "about life and death, what we believe and who gets to choose when a child is taken off life support."
"Do the parents choose, or do the doctors choose? And when the doctors don't agree with the parents, who gets to decide?" Acevedo said. "And those are the issues that are at the heart of this case."