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Kaiser Ordered to Keep Infant Hooked Up for Now

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (CN) - U.S. District Judge Troy Nunley on Friday ordered Kaiser to keep a 2-year old on life support until his case can be heard Monday.

In early April, Israel Stinson stopped breathing in relation to an asthma attack, and likely has brain damage, according to an April 28 complaint for a temporary restraining order and injunction.

He was eventually transferred to a Kaiser facility, where doctors threatened to pull the plug on the boy, according to the complaint. His mother Jonee Fonseca says Kaiser told her she has no right to keep him on a ventilator "since they have pronounced Israel brain dead."

Israel's mother, Jonee Fonseca, contends Israel is alive, not "brain dead," in her complaint. She has video evidence showing him moving in response to her voice and touch, it states.

The definition of "brain dead" is not agreed upon in the medical community, Paul Byrne a pediatric neonatologist Fonseca has brought into the dispute, wrote in a declaration to support the complaint. He also added a list of people who have recovered.

Israel is alive, Byrne says in his declaration. Hospital documentation shows he is not even in a coma, Byrne claims.

Although the child's mother has begged for her child to be fed and provided medical care, Kaiser says it will not "treat or feed" him because he has been pronounced "brain dead."

Judge Nunley's temporary order does not change this.

"Jonee Fonseca is a devout Christian and believes in the healing power of God. She also believes that life does not end until the cessation of cardiopulmonary function. She believes that removing Israel from the ventilator is tantamount to ending his life," the complaint states.

"With proper treatment as proposed by his parents, Israel is likely to continue to live, and may find limited to full recovery of brain function, and may possibly regain consciousness," Byrne's declaration states. It says that Israel suffers from diabetes and hypothyroidism, and that proper treatment for those conditions might allow his health to improve.

Jonee Fonseca is represented by Kevin T. Snider, Michael J. Peffer and Matthew B. McReynolds of the Pacific Justice Institute in Sacramento.

Kevin Snider told Courthouse News that the restraining order does not require the gastric tube feeding of fats and proteins Fonseca had sought, and that Israel is only receiving intravenous fluids.

"He is on what is equivalent to a 7-Up. Most of us would not function well if we had three weeks of nothing but a 7-Up," Snider said.

Snider said he does not know Fonseca's denominational affiliation or its official teachings on brain death, nor Fonseca's position on organ transplants.

Byrne says in his declaration that Israel's parents have declined to donate his organs.

"I've never heard of a denomination that would say that a beating heart is not life. I think even most lay people would concede that," Snider told Courthouse News.

A representative of Kaiser declined to comment on the case.

Judge Nunley's order does not state whether Fonseca's case is likely to succeed on its merits, but says "plaintiff has demonstrated that, without an order from the Court, she will suffer irreparable harm and that the balance of hardships strongly favors plaintiff."

The hearing is scheduled for Monday, May 2 at 1:30 p.m.

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