Michigan teen declared brain-dead after asthma attack, taken off life support

Despite impassioned objections from the boy’s family, 14-year-old Bobby Reyes has been declared brain-dead and a Michigan hospital discontinued life support on Tuesday.

Reyes had been on life support since Sept. 21 after an asthma attack led to cardiac arrest. Soon after, doctors at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor declared Reyes brain-dead; since then, relatives have been trying to find a new hospital to care for him.

A court order weeks ago stopped the hospital from ending Reyes’ life support. However, at a court hearing on Tuesday, the judge dismissed the case filed by Reyes’ family to continue that support because the family’s lawyer had filed the case in the wrong court system. The case should have been filed in the court of claims, but instead it was filed in circuit court.

The judge further said that as a result, he could not grant them a 48-hour stay to refile in the correct court.

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"This is life-or-death right now. So we are going to file something; I have something prepared already and we're going to file it, I don't know if it's going to be successful or not. This could be the end. I hope and pray not, but we're going to file something quickly, get it filed within the hour and hope that the court of claims will give us a chance," family attorney William Amadeo said after the case was thrown out, according to Fox 2 Detroit.

"I never thought I'd be fighting to keep my son alive; I thought I'd be waiting for him to get better, not protecting him constantly," said Reyes’ mother.

Mott conducted a second brain examination on Tuesday and found “no electrical activity and no blood flow to Bobby’s brain.” Legally, doctors were able to discontinue life support, and they did so, as Reyes was surrounded by his family.

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“Continuing medical interventions was inappropriate after Bobby had suffered brain death and violates the professional integrity of Michigan Medicine’s clinicians,” Michigan Medicine spokesperson Mary Masson said. That conclusion wasn't satisfactory to Reyes’ mother, Sarah Jones.

Amadeo said Tuesday that second opinions from other doctors said Reyes was not brain-dead.

Masson said the caregivers at Mott Children’s Hospital had tried to transfer Reyes to another facility, but after contacting 20 different hospitals, none proved willing to take on Reyes’ care.

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