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Archive for Sunday, May 14, 2006

Hospital stopped from taking boy off support

May 14, 2006

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— The family of a 14-year-old who was shot in the neck has received a restraining order preventing the University of Kansas Hospital from taking the boy off of life support.

Michael Todd of Kansas City was shot Tuesday at a Blue Springs apartment. Police said a witness told them that the gun might have gone off accidentally.

"Our doctors have determined him to be brain dead," hospital spokesman Dennis McCulloch said on Friday.

But Michael's family argues that the hospital wants to remove the boy from life support because it wants to use his organs for a donor program.

"It's so quick," said Odette Cole, Todd's aunt. "He's 14 years old. ... You're acting like you're in a grocery store for body parts."

Though McCulloch could not discuss the case specifically, he said a family would be required to authorize any organ donations.

"I can tell you generically that under federal regulations all deaths or imminent deaths are required to be reported to the organ bank," he said. "Beyond that is between the organ bank and a family whether a donation is made."

Michael's family filed for the restraining order in Wyandotte County District Court. McCulloch said the hospital planned to respond to the injunction Monday.

McCulloch couldn't provide more information on the boy's injuries because of privacy laws. But he said that generally when a patient is declared brain dead, only hospital equipment is keeping the person's heart and lungs functioning.

"A declaration of brain death usually results in the beginning steps of ending treatment," he said. "We work very closely with the families in those situations, as it is a very difficult time for them."

Cole said her nephew's 15th birthday is May 31. He attended J.A. Rogers Middle School.

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