High Court Halts Removal Of Infant's Ventilator
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
June 11, 2004
COLUMBUS, OHIO--Less than one hour before hospital workers were scheduled to disconnect 7-month-old Aiden Stein's ventilator, the Ohio Supreme Court stepped in to keep the infant alive while it resolves a dispute between his parents and a court-appointed guardian.
The high court must decide whether to accept an appeal from Aiden's parents, Matthew Stein and Arica Heimlich, who want their son to be kept alive.
Aiden has been hospitalized since March 15 with a brain injury. Doctors at Akron Children's Hospital have said that Aiden's injuries are consistent with shaken-baby syndrome. They claim that the child is blind, deaf and unaware of his surroundings. He does not breathe on his own and would die soon if taken off the breathing machine.
The hospital wants to disconnect the machine so Aiden will die. Doctors feared that Mr. Stein wants the boy kept alive because he could be charged with murder if the child dies.
While Matthew Stein is suspected of injuring his son, police have not charged him with any crime.
In April the hospital asked the Summit County Probate Court to turn over Aiden's guardianship to Akron attorney Ellen Kaforey, claiming the parents did not have the child's best interest in mind.
On Wednesday, the 9th District Court of Appeals upheld the lower-court's ruling which allows Kaforey to have Aiden's life support removed. The ventilator was then scheduled for removal at noon Friday.
According to the Associated Press, Judge Donna Carr wrote separate from the court that state law on withdrawing life support does not apply to minors, and the law on appointing guardians for children doesn't specifically address withdrawing life support.
Mr. Stein denies the allegations that he injured Aiden by violently shaking him. He told Fox News Thursday that Aiden sucks his pacifier and responds to voices.
"Who are we to say that just because he's not socially acceptable that we should kill him?" Stein said. "Have we come to that in our society, that our hearts are so hardened that we have no love for people outside the norm?"
Clair Dickinson, an attorney for the guardian, said doctors have found no activity in Aiden's brain, and that any movements Stein sees are merely reflexes.
"The idea he would react to somebody's voice is, I believe, wishful thinking," Dickinson said.
Attorneys for both sides will now need to present arguments on whether the state Supreme Court should take up the case.