Girl, 2, dies; was fo­cus of fight over brain death test

Kuwait Times - - HEALTH & SCIENCE -

A 2-year-old Vir­ginia girl whose par­ents went to court to block a hos­pi­tal from per­form­ing a brain death test on the child has died, the hos­pi­tal said Mon­day. Mir­randa Grace Law­son passed away Nov 1, said Michael Porter, a spokesman for Vir­ginia Com­mon­wealth Univer­sity Health Sys­tem. Law­son had been on life sup­port at VCU Med­i­cal Cen­ter since May, when she choked on a piece of pop­corn and went into car­diac ar­rest at her par­ent’s home. Law­son’s doc­tors had said they were cer­tain she wouldn’t re­cover and wanted to per­form an ap­nea test, which in­volves tak­ing some­one off a ven­ti­la­tor briefly to see if her brain tries to tell the body to breathe on its own. But Law­son’s par­ents re­fused to al­low the test, say­ing they wor­ried it would harm her.

The Richmond Cir­cuit Court ruled against the Law­sons in June, but al­lowed them to pay a $30,000 bond that blocked the hos­pi­tal from con­duct­ing the test while the fam­ily ap­pealed to the Vir­ginia Supreme Court. In July, the Supreme Court de­nied the hos­pi­tal’s re­quest to im­me­di­ately per­form the test, but hadn’t yet de­cided whether it would con­sider the Law­son’s ap­peal. A phone num­ber for Law­son’s par­ents wasn’t work­ing Mon­day and they didn’t im­me­di­ately re­spond to an email from The As­so­ci­ated Press. An at­tor­ney for Law­son’s par­ents did not im­me­di­ately re­turn a mes­sage left at his of­fice.

Porter, the health sys­tem spokesman, said it ex­tends its deep­est sym­pa­thies to Law­son’s fam­ily. “Dur­ing the sev­eral months Mir­randa was at our hos­pi­tal, we saw the Law­son’s en­dur­ing love and sup­port of their daugh­ter in deal­ing with the tragedy,” he said in a state­ment. “Mir­randa’s med­i­cal team demon­strated the high­est lev­els of qual­ity and com­pas­sion­ate care for her and her fam­ily.” One of Law­son’s doc­tors said in court that it would be “as­tound­ing” if she were able to breathe with­out the ma­chine. And the health sys­tem ar­gued that the brain death test would not be dan­ger­ous, even if Law­son was not brain dead. They said car­ing for her was tak­ing up valu­able re­sources, not­ing that it was cost­ing nearly $10,000 a day.

Mir­randa’s fa­ther, Pa­trick Law­son, said in an in­ter­view with the AP in July that the girl choked af­ter she got into a bag of pop­corn the fam­ily was shar­ing on his wife’s birth­day at their Fauquier County home. The fa­ther per­formed CPR un­til paramedics ar­rived and in­tu­bated the child. Pa­trick Law­son said at the time that they be­lieved the girl was im­prov­ing and wanted her doc­tors to give her a portable ven­ti­la­tor and feed­ing tube so she could be trans­ferred to an­other hos­pi­tal or cared for at home.—AP

RICHMOND, Vir­ginia: In this file photo pro­vided by Pa­trick Law­son, his daugh­ter Mir­randa Grace Law­son lies in her hos­pi­tal bed at Vir­ginia Com­mon­wealth Univer­sity Med­i­cal Col­lege of Vir­ginia in Richmond, Va. —AP

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