KANSAS CITY, KAN. The mother of a 14-year-old boy on life support after being shot in the neck said a hearing next week will give her a chance to present medical testimony that he has shown signs of life and should not be disconnected.
Michael J. Todd has been declared brain dead by doctors at the University of Kansas Hospital, which wants to discontinue treatment. But his mother, Cecilia B. Cole, said he has shown signs of life: responding to touch, shedding tears, trying to open his right eye and attempting to grip the hands of those holding his hands. A week ago she obtained a temporary restraining order barring the hospital from taking him off life support.
She wants an independent neurosurgeon to examine him before the hearing, set for Monday in Wyandotte County District Court.
"I just want to thank the court for giving me this extra time to get a second opinion, which I wanted in the beginning," Cole said Wednesday, after District Judge Muriel Y. Harris scheduled the hearing.
Michael was shot May 9 in the Kansas City suburb of Blue Springs, Mo. A witness told police that a 9 mm rifle might have gone off accidentally.
The next day, doctors told Michael's family that he was brain dead - a diagnosis the hospital contends was backed up by tests. On Monday, attorneys for the hospital asked the court to declare Michael dead and allow the hospital to take him off life support.
"We still hope this time will allow us the opportunity to come together with the family and resolve it," hospital spokesman Dennis McCulloch said. "It is a very tragic situation."
Michael's relatives have alleged that the hospital wants to have him declared dead so his organs can be harvested for transplant - an allegation hospital officials deny, saying no organs are ever taken without a family's consent.
Kansans for Life has helped the family find an attorney and arrange for an independent neurosurgeon's examination.