By Charlie Johnston
Today is the key day in finding a transfer hospital for young Joe Cronin. Driscoll Children’s Hospital where he is at will reportedly begin aggressive measures to justify declaring brain death and removing him from life support tomorrow morning if arrangements for a transfer are not in place. According to the family, they did a brain-death test last week – but Joe passed it, so they were not able to yet justify withdrawal from life support.
Almost invariably, the people answering the phones at Driscoll have been courteous and sympathetic. I don’t know if that is going to save Joe’s life, but the PR Dept. has said it is taking into account the volume of heartfelt calls it is getting, so keep those cards and letters coming, folks. The main number is 361-694-5000 and the line to the Public Affairs Office is 361-694-5662.
Dr. Paul Byrne, who has had much experience in this area, is in contact with the family and their lawyers now, both trying to arrange a transfer and counseling them on how to protect Joe while he is in the care of the hospital. Dr. Byrne has long advocated against declarations of brain death, declaring it is not death at all and is often used as a means for getting fresh organs from a patient that doctors know is not dead, but believe to be unable to make much of a recovery – or to persist in a near vegetative state. He has testified before many legislatures on the subject and written extensively.
Thanks be to God, the Terri Shiavo Life and Hope Network has been very helpful and promises to work vigorously if we do not get a transfer. I am pleased that several people I am close with, including one person heavily involved at top levels of national pro-life advocacy groups, had told me privately before the Schiavo Network got involved that it is the best and most effective advocate you can have in terrible scenarios such as this.
I know this is not much of an update…but today is like a stakeout, waiting for good – or at least hopeful – news. I can tell you that many credible and competent people have gotten involved and all are manning their posts well, working vigorously throughout the day. I will alert you of any breakthrough if it comes today. If not, then we will start marshalling larger media coverage to try to buy the boy more time to arrange a transfer.
In the meantime, here is the original story, with some updates, on the matter.