Parents Fighting to Keep Infant Son on Life Support Win Reprieve

The Canadian parents of an infant struggling on life support are fighting to keep him alive as a judge's one-week reprieve to stop his ventilator ends Wednesday, the Edmonton Journal reported from Alberta.

Justice Michelle Crighton went against doctor's orders and gave 3-month-old Isaiah James May's family and their lawyers until Jan. 27 to find an expert who can determine the severity of his brain damage, and if he should be taken off life support.

Deprived of oxygen during birth complications due to the umbilical cord getting wrapped around the baby's neck, Isaiah has been on a ventilator and fed through a tube since his mother's 40-hour labor on Oct. 24.

Isaiah's parents, Isaac and Rebecka May, received a letter from doctors at the intensive care unit on Jan. 13 telling them Isaiah would be taken off life support on Jan. 20.

"There is no hope of recovery for Isaiah," the Journal quotes the letter, which describes him as having irreversible brain damage. "Your treating physicians regretfully have come to the conclusion that withdrawal of active treatment is medically reasonable, ethically responsible and appropriate. We must put the interests of your son foremost and it is in his best interests to discontinue mechanical ventilation support ... You have our deepest sympathies at this difficult time."

The doctors' lawyer, David Steele, told the Journal he would like to see the case go to trial. He believes a trial will give the parents more of a voice, as well as set a precedent as more of these cases pop up in Canada, the Journal reported.

"As a parent myself, I can't put myself in these parents' shoes," the Journal quoted Steele. "This has been a very sad situation for the physicians, too."

The Mays' attorney has requested 90 days to monitor Isaiah's progress, and to contact several experts who may be able to determine if his brain damage is reversible.

"These are very serious issues. They're issues of life and death involving a child," lawyer Rosanna Saccomani told the Journal.

The first-time parents are also concerned with and are questioning the standard of care they received during Rebeck's delivery, demanding to know why she was able to stay in labor at Rocky Mountain Hospital for 40 hours without a C-Section.

Doctors at first told the Mays that Isaiah would not live longer than three days. Instead, according to court documents, his head has grown, he has gained more than three pounds, frequently soaks his diaper without assistance, opens his eyes every day, brings his knees to his stomach and moves his hands, feet and arms.

"He is doing everything they said he would not do," Rebecka May told the Journal. "Every day he does something new, so that helps us to fight."

The Mays are holding out hope for more signs of progress, but have not decided what they will do if Isaiah is deemed medically brain-dead.

"Of course, we just hope the best," Isaac told the Journal. "We wouldn't let this go on forever."

Click here to read more on this story from the Edmonton Journal.