Parents of Texas girl declared brain dead wage court battle to keep her alive


<pThe desperate parents of a 9-year-old cancer-stricken girl are waging a court fight to prevent Texas doctors from removing their daughter from life support, but their quest to keep her breathing has now turned into a race against time.

<pHoping for a miracle, the parents of Payton Summons obtained a restraining order this week to keep her on a ventilator at Cook Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth, giving them what they thought was 14 days to arrange care for her elsewhere. But lawyers for the hospital challenged the ruling and asked a state appeals court to resolve the life-or-death drama.

<p"They're hopeful for any positive sign that emanates itself, whether it's a miracle or whether it be a judicial remedy. I guess a judicial remedy could be a miracle, too," Justin Moore, an attorney for Payton's parents, told ABC News.

<pPayton, who has an inoperable tumor in her chest that cut off her circulation, was declared brain dead by doctors on Sept. 25, according to a statement released by the hospital.



<pThe girl's parents, Tiffany Hofstetter and Joseph Summons, went to court to seek a restraining order to prevent doctors from removing Payton from life support and give them time to find another medical facility that will continue to treat her.

<pJudge Melody Wilkinson of the 17th District Court in Tarrant County, Texas, granted the temporary restraining order on Oct. 1 and just before it expired the judge extended it until 6 p.m. on Monday.


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<pAttorneys for Cook Children's Medical Center filed an appeal on Wednesday challenging Wilkinson's ruling. Moore said the hospital asked for an expedited hearing, which could be scheduled as early as Friday.

<p"The judge’s decision has put everyone involved in an incredibly difficult position," the hospital said in a statement to ABC News.


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<pThe hospital said Payton was determined to be dead "under clear Texas laws" and the laws of every other state.



<p"There is no treatment that can be provided for her at Cook Children’s or any other facility that will change that," the hospital statement reads. "To maintain a dead person on mechanical ventilation and insist – in fact, order – that healthcare providers continue treating a deceased, deteriorating body is medically, ethically, and morally wrong."


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<pIn response to the hospital's appeal, Moore said "Payton's parents and supporters find it 'repugnant' for Cook Children's to refuse to allow an agreed resolution of this matter," and called the hospital's actions "contrary to the best interest of the child, the wishes of her parents, the order of the court, existing law, the hospital's own written policies, the will of the public, and the spirit of compassion."

<pMoore said multiple medical facilities willing to take Payton have reached out to the parents, who need more time to evaluate which facility would be best for the girl.

<p"The parents were happy that we got the extension on Monday, of course," Moore said. "So, they've been reinvigorated by that. They're doing their due diligence to try and find a facility now."