Christian parents in Sacramento, California are currently engulfed in an intense legal battle with a hospital that wants to end life-sustaining treatment for their infant son.
According to the a press release shared by the Life Legal Defense Foundation, two-year-old Israel Stinson suffered a severe asthma attack on April 1st, and was subsequently placed on life support at a Sacramento-area hospital.
Two weeks later, the little boy was transferred to a Kaiser facility. Less than a day after Israel arrived at the facility, doctors informed his parents that they intended to run another test to determine his brain activity. The medical staff added that the hospital would likely withdraw Israel's life support, which would result in the toddler's immediate death.
The press release notes that Israel's mother posted notes throughout his hospital room instructing Kaiser not to conduct any tests on her son without her permission, believing that no one has the right to take away the privilege of life from her son.
However, the hospital ignored her wishes, and conducted the tests.
Life Legal, an organization dedicated to "giving helpless and innocent human beings of any age, and their advocates, a trained and committed voice in the courtrooms," on Thursday appeared in court with Israel's parents seeking a temporary restraining order prohibiting the hospital from withdrawing life support and requiring that the little boy receive any treatment needed to maintain his stability.
While the judge granted the order, Israel's parents will once again appear in court on Friday, fighting to keep Israel on life support until he can be evaluated by an outside specialist.
LLDF notes that over the past couple years, it has seen a disturbing trend known as "medicide," in which the "very instruments of medicine (hospitals, drugs, treatments, nutrition and hydration) are turned around and used as tools to hasten death rather than preserve life."
In 2013, a California hospital declared 13-year-old Jahi McMath officially dead after a sleep apnea surgery went awry, and refused to continue treatment. The family's attorney argued in 2014 that Jahi should be declared alive, citing signs of brain functions found during a series of tests at Rutgers University. The family managed to win in court and took her to a long-term care facility, where she currently remains.
"Never had we seen such a cold-hearted, vicious attack on a helpless person's life by those whose duty it was to care for the patient," wrote LLDF executive director Dana Cody at the time. "Jahi's case demonstrates the level to which death is accepted as medical treatment."
She added, "How many will see their lives ended because they are incorrectly judged 'not to be alive' or 'brain dead'? How many will have their lives ended because treatments or procedures are denied due to "medical protocol" or 'limited efficacy,' or because their wishes are not 'documented' or are 'inadequately documented' or even ignored?"
Speaking to The Gospel Herald back in February, Joni Eareckson Tada, an evangelical Christian author and international advocate for people with disabilities, similarly lamented the "culture of death" that is sweeping across the United States and urged the Church to become more involved in advocating for society's weakest members.
"Someone once said that 'The health of a civilization depends on how its society treats the elderly, the newborn, the unborn, people with disabilities, the poor, and those who are homeless,'" she said. "What concerns me is that there is a culture of death that is sweeping this country, and it is turning our society into a people that are fearful of suffering, fearful of pain, and fearful of disability. Those fears are now beginning to create social policy. Five states in the U.S. have legalized assisted suicide, and this means that people with terminal conditions - and even that definition is up for grabs - and handicapping conditions can now 'qualify' for assisted suicide. This is not a healthy society. This is not a healthy culture. When we have a culture of death, it undermines the rights of the weak and infirmed and elderly."