Doctors have removed the breathing tube of Bobbi Kristina Brown, the 21-year-old daughter the late singer Whitney Houston, who continues to fight for her life nearly three weeks after being found unresponsive in a bathtub, according to sources close to the family.
Bobbi Kristina, who remains in a medically-induced coma at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, will now be ventilated through a hole in her throat, known as a tracheostomy.
According to Dr. Sanjay Gupta, the move is simply a protective measure which lowers the risk of infection.
"This is an indication that the patient will need this for weeks and months to come, as opposed to hours and days," he said, adding that it is a "normal" procedure.
The family source told reporters that while Brown's condition remains unchanged, the removal from the ventilator does not indicate any decision has been made as to her life support.
"We wouldn't do that to Krissy," cousin Jerod Brown said to Atlanta's NBC affiliate in an interview. "I wouldn't want someone to do that to me if I was in that situation."
Dr. Jordan S. Josephson, an ENT specialist at Lenox Hill Hospital, also warned the public against reading into the family's decision. "I've seen cases where you think the patient should come out of it and they don't. And of course there are cases where you're telling the family the patient may never come out of it and two days later they wake up," he told the AP.
"Hopefully this is something that will be short for her and a speedy recovery is on the way."
Bobbi Kristina was found lying face-down in a bathtub in her home in Roswell, Georgia in late January. According to medical experts, the 21 year old was deprived of oxygen while in the bathtub for anywhere from two to fifteen minutes--which could mean significant brain damage. Although no drugs were found in her system, police have confirmed that drugs were found at the scene.
The aspiring singer's mother, world-renowned singer Whitney Houston, was found dead in an eerily similar way three years ago, face-down in a Beverly Hills Hilton bathtub.
The cause of death for the "I Will Always Love You" singer was ruled as drowning due to a heart attack brought on by cocaine use, but the reason for Bobbi Kristina's coma is still unknown.
However, according to police reports, Bobbi Kristina had "certain injuries" on her when she was found, leading them to believe her boyfriend, Nick Gordon, may be at fault for her current condition. As previously reported by the Gospel Herald, the young couple experienced a tumultuous, and often violent, relationship.
In the meantime, Bobbi Kristina's family, including her father, R&B singer Bobby Brown, refuse to give up hope that she will soon wake up, and are asking for continued prayers.
"Though it seems the odds are against her," Jerod wrote on his Facebook page, "STILL PRAY FOR [Bobbi Kristina]...Right now, we have the chance to save [her] and the best way we can save her right now if through prayer."