'We have set our tiny miracle free': Alberta parents take baby off life-support
By Jodie Sinnema, Edmonton Journal March 11, 2010
EDMONTON ó A baby at the centre of a legal battle between his parents and Alberta doctors died in the arms of his mother and father Thursday after being taken off life-support.
"We have set our tiny miracle free and he's now home in the arms of angels," parents Rebecka and Isaac May said in a statement. "Isaiah has been a blessing to us and his spirit will always be in our hearts."
Lawyer Rosanna Saccomani delivered the news on their behalf at Edmonton's Stollery Children's Hospital, where the baby had been kept on life support for weeks against the advice of local doctors.
"It's been very difficult for them, but they are at peace," she said.
The Mays took Alberta Health Services to court after they were told the hospital's clinical director planned to take Isaiah off the ventilator Jan. 20 because of severe, irreversible brain damage.
Isaiah was born Oct. 24, 2009 in a hospital in Rocky Mountain House, Alta., after 40 hours of labour with his umbilical cord wrapped around his neck, cutting off his oxygen supply. The baby was flown about 200 kilometres northeast to Edmonton, and had been hooked up to a ventilator ever since.
"Over these last four months, we have cherished every moment with our son," said the young, first-time parents Thursday. "We have marvelled at the perfection of his hands and feet and face, at the colour of his eyes and the shade of his hair. We have wondered who he most resembled.
"All along, it was our hope that his condition would brighten and improve. It has not."
While Isaiah's head grew and body gained weight, and though he could open his eyes and move his limbs, he couldn't live without being hooked up to a breathing machine.
"We held out hope there would come a time when we might see his smile or hear his laugh," said the parents, who sought expert opinion from outside Alberta while they fought for Isaiah's life through the court system.
The Mays thanked Dr. Richard Taylor from B.C.'s Victoria General Hospital, as well as a neonatologist from the United States, who helped explain in detail Isaiah's brain function by comparing his MRI to that of a normal brain image.
"He was not in any distress," Taylor said in a statement released Thursday. When Taylor tested the nerves entering and leaving Isaiah's brain during a February visit to Edmonton, Isaiah had no reflexes.
"Upon completion of all my testing and consultations with other specialists, I advised Rebecka and Isaac that I was certain that Isaiah would never recover and that his body movements were likely due to activity of his spinal cord," Taylor said. "He would remain ventilator-dependent for the duration of his life. As Isaiah would never recover, we agreed that this degree of life support was no longer appropriate."
Another court appearance in the case had been scheduled for Thursday but was cancelled early in the day.
"We very much believe a life is a gift from God and that our son's inherent value and worth as a human being is not diminished by the number of days recorded in this world," the Mays said in their statement.
"Isaiah has reminded all of us once again that life is precious and fragile. . . . We will never forget the miracle of his birth, the Christmas we spent together and the early spring day when we said our goodbyes."
Meanwhile, Alberta Health Services offered its condolences Thursday.
"Understandably this is an extremely emotional time and it is important to be respectful of the May family's need for privacy given the difficult decision they have made," the statement read.
"All Alberta Health Services' physicians and staff who have been involved in caring for Baby Isaiah were touched by the May family's strength. Our deepest sympathies go out to the family."
Saccomani said Isaiah was surrounded by about 10 family members when he died, including a grandmother who travelled from Washington. The family was returning home to Rocky Mountain House on Thursday, where funeral arrangements will be made.
"They felt rushed at the beginning and when it comes to end-of-life decisions, we should never rush these," she said. "They needed that extra time and they were given that extra time."
© Copyright (c) Canwest News Service
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03-12-2010, 08:45 AM #1
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- Loco madidus effercio in rutilus effercio.
03-12-2010, 12:40 PM #2
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- Memphis Tn,USA-now
It's never easy making that decision.After he and my aunt decided to remove the life support from their daughter who was suffering Reye's Syndrome,my uncle suffered a heart attack and almost pushed himself into another one when he found out the doctors weren't releasing him even for the funeral.
Family invitations still have her listed as "Sister of the Groom" and the like.
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