HOUSTON – An infant with an often-lethal skeletal disorder can be removed from life support against his mother's wishes, a judge ruled Wednesday.
Probate Court Judge William C. McCulloch's decision lifted a restraining order that kept Wanda Hudson's (search) 4-month-old son, Sun, on life support.
Texas Children's Hospital (search) officials have said no treatment can save the infant, and they wanted to remove him from life support. Hudson believes her son will recover and had fought to keep him on the ventilator he has used since birth.
The dispute centers around the legal standard over hospital care in Texas. Under state law, a hospital must continue care if there is a reasonable probability that another hospital will admit the patient.
The mother's attorney argued there is a reasonable chance another hospital would take the infant, which would mandate continued care. But hospital lawyers said state officials have contacted almost 40 facilities and none have been willing to care for Sun.
"I'm not saying whether they can or can't, but I am saying that they are not restrained" in removing life support, the judge said. "I am no longer prohibiting the hospital from removing Sun from life support."
Hudson's lawyer, Mario Caballero, said he would appeal.
The hospital has set no timetable for when it plans to disconnect Sun from life support.
"We are deeply saddened that no treatment can save this child," the hospital said in a statement. "We will try to work as closely as possible with Ms. Hudson regarding the future of Sun's care."
The infant suffers from thanatophoric dysplasia (search), a genetic condition characterized by extremely short limbs, a narrow chest, small ribs and underdeveloped lungs. Infants usually are stillborn or die shortly after birth from respiratory failure. There have been rare documented cases of survivors, however.
"He is slowly suffocating to death because his lungs lack the capability to support his body," the hospital said.
Sun's mother appeared agitated in the courtroom and spoke to judge for several minutes during the hearing.
"I was told what to do by Sun," she said. "I don't understand all this legal stuff. But please give Sun time to allow Sun to create Sun."
Hudson has not seen her son in more than a month but believes she communicates with him telepathically.