Last night, the lawyer who has provided some assistance, Robert Painter of Houston, took aggressive action to prevent Driscoll Hospital from performing invasive tests to justify a declaration of death on Joey Cronin. As of this morning, the hospital has deferred such testing – but astonishingly, will not commit to defer them for even the whole day. Unfortunately, Painter does not formally represent the Cronins, but has just been offering them informal assistance. I expect that they will have formal representation before the hour is out.
At this point, hospital officials have been unfailingly courteous to outsiders, but have also unfailingly worked to push up the time of aggressive testing to declare brain death even when other arrangements are in process and even when it seems contrary to the hospital’s interests in establishing due diligence. At this point, the courtesy seems more like a mask than anything else. It would be hard for a reasonable man to conclude that the hospital’s position on this boy is driven by either his or his family’s best interests. I do not know what is driving it, but this is very strange.
The Washington-based Alliance for Freedom has offered to come in and provide legal help pro bono.
Sorry…I know I am a little disjointed. I was just on the phone with George when things had to end abruptly with him in panic. Thanks be to God, he called back moments later to tell me it was a false alarm. A seeming precipitous drop in Joey’s blood pressure was merely a leak in a line. Who knew my body could produce so much adrenaline at this stage of my life.
Because of your efforts, I have heard from EWTN this morning and several television stations, including one in Houston and one in Corpus Christi. Keep pounding, but this is getting out there.
I am on the phone almost constantly right now. The key, I think, is to get an emergency temporary restraining order (TRO) TODAY, that would prevent any mischief through the weekend. HealthBridge in Houston has begun procedures to accept Joey and two other hospitals have said they would go through the procedures as well. You probably wonder, as I did, why once you have got a willing destination they just don’t transfer. In our insane modern society, mounting such a transfer is a bureaucratic nightmare. Insurance has to be cleared, acceptable transport arranged and a host of other bureaucratic hurdles cleared. It can take a week or more from the time of initial acceptance in principle until the physical transfer takes place.
I spoke to a doctor about the “apnea” test. He said it does not determine death so much as cause it. A patient in extremis is removed from the ventilation tube for ten minutes to see what happens. The patient usually gets oxygen deprived – and the doctor said this can easily happen with a patient in whom the prognosis is otherwise good. Frankly, this sound to me like the old “witch” test in New Salem.
Things are extremely fluid today. I am trying to balance coordinating various things on this with keeping you informed. I expect to break in with numerous, short updates as the day progresses.