The Christian mother of a 2-year-old boy declared brain dead by doctors is asking fellow believers to pray as her family is currently engulfed in an intense legal battle with a hospital that wants to end life-sustaining treatment for her infant son.
Israel Stinson suffered a severe asthma attack on April 1st, and was subsequently placed on life support at a Sacramento-area hospital. A neurological exam showed the little boy was brain dead.
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, Nathaniel Stinson and Jonee Fonseca, that they intended to run another test to determine his brain activity.
The medical staff said that the hospital would likely withdraw Israel's life support, which would result in the toddler's immediate death. Jonee 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.
"Within 24 hours of being admitted to Kaiser, the hospital wanted to remove our son from life support," Jonee wrote in a recent statement. "They said Israel would only live for a few days and his heart would soon stop beating. We were prepared to accept his death once his heart stopped. But one month later, Israel has proven the doctors wrong. He is a fighter!"
The couple is currently awaiting a federal court decision, expected this week, on their request for a preliminary injunction to stop Kaiser from taking Israel off a ventilator.
"We have been able to keep Israel on life support with the help of our legal team, but it has been a tough battle," Jonee said. "We are mentally and physically drained, but spiritually we are stronger than ever because we know that Israel is still very much alive!"
The Life Legal Defense Foundation, the organization supporting the Stinsons, recently shared a video on its website showing Israel move slightly on his bed after he is tickled on the arm, proving the child is not dead. Jonee revealed that just three weeks ago, the little boy began moving his head up and down in response to sound and touch, kicked his legs, and recently took some breaths on his own.
"A neurologist who recently watched a video of Israel's movements said 'Any head movement by a person, whether to verbal stimuli or spontaneously, reveals that there is intact functioning of the brain' and that 'it is completely illogical and against any brain death criteria standards to classify this child as brain dead,'" wrote his mother.
"The doctors who declared Israel "dead" can see our son move his head and body in response to my voice. They listen to his beating heart. They tell me he is stable and that his organs are healthy. But they refuse to feed him. And because he didn't pass their test-a test that was given almost a month ago-they want to kill him."
While doctors believe they have done all they can do, Jonee revealed she is begging the hospital to ask themselves the question: "Are we pulling the plug too soon?"
"I am a mother, not a doctor," she wrote. "But I have started doing research into the brain and am learning new words like 'neuroplasticity,' which is the brain's amazing ability to change and even to repair itself after severe injuries...ISRAEL IS NOT DEAD. HE IS ALIVE."
As the couple awaits the court's decision, they are urging Christians to unite in prayer, asking God for a miracle for their little boy.
"I don't know how much more time Kaiser will give my son," Jonee concluded. "The best hope for Israel is to be transferred to another hospital that will provide Israel with nutrition and with a breathing tube. This needs to happen soon."
Speaking to CBS News, Nate said that their faith in God is the only thing that gives the the strength to keep fighting: "I do feel like it's getting harder, but we made it this far and made it farther than anyone else," he said. "I believe that God is with us and we are going to keep pushing on."