A judge declined Wednesday to grant a temporary injunction that would have extended a 14-day temporary restraining order that kept a 9-year-old Grand Prairie girl on life support at Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth.
Payton Summons has been on life support for more than two weeks. The medical staff at the hospital determined Summons to be brain dead and argued that the child should be removed from the ventilator.
The judge sided with the hospital after hearing testimony from both sides Wednesday.
“I am a mother of three,” said Judge Meody Wilkinson as she looked at Payton’s mom and dad. “I know what it’s like to do anything you can for your child, but the prosecution has not met their burden of proof.”
Summons’ parents, their attorneys and the Cook Children’s Medical Center have tried more than 20 hospitals in an attempt to transfer their daughter to a different facility, but none would admit her in her current state.
The judge said the temporary restraining order would expire Monday at 1:20 p.m. — exactly 14 days after it was ordered.
The girl’s mother and father both testified, and said they believed that Summons was fighting and could recover.
Summons’ attending doctor also testified, saying that she meets the legal and medical definitions of brain dead, but has not been declared brain dead due to the temporary restraining order that prevented the hospital from doing a second test.
An attorney for Summons’ family was granted the temporary restraining order Monday, Oct. 1, which prevented the hospital staff from discontinuing life support that day, against the wishes of the child’s family. It extended her time on life support until Oct. 15, which is the earliest the hospital can remove her from life support.
Summons was rushed to Cook Children’s Tuesday, Sept. 25 in cardiac arrest. Doctors would later discover that a cancerous tumor near Summons’ heart had cut off her circulation.
After approximately one hour of performing CPR, the medical staff was able to restart Summons’ heart. But they were unable to resuscitate the child’s breathing, and she has been on a ventilator ever since.
“As is standard practice, we conducted a brain death exam on Payton approximately 24 hours after she was admitted to our hospital,” a spokesperson for Cook Children’s said in a written statement. “The results were conclusive and showed zero brain activity, confirming that Payton is brain dead … Our hearts are with Payton’s family and we will continue doing everything in our power to help them through this difficult time.”
Justin Moore, one of the attorneys who is representing Payton Summons’ family, said the family is now weighing their options for their next step. Ultimately, he said they want a second opinion.
“There are a multitude of death tests. There are EEG’s, MRI’s and apnea tests. Payton is too fragile to survive the apnea tests, but she can take two other tests,” Moore said.
Moore and his co-counsel Paul Stafford say ultimately, they hope this case will help bring about legislation to clarify the laws in unique cases like these. They say that would give parents, dealing with an impossible decision, more guidance.
NBC 5’s Chris Blake and Laura Harris contributed to this report.