Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Urgent Prayers Needed for Little Emilio Gonzales!

Urgent prayers are needed for 16 month old Emilio Lee Gonzales of Texas!

Administrators at Children's Hospital of Austin are planning to remove little Emilio from his respirator on Friday over the objections of his mother Catarina. Emilio is a Medicaid patient who has been diagnosed on the basis of symptoms alone with Leigh's disease. There is no definitive test for Leigh's disease and the results of tests that might support the diagnosis are not yet complete. At the present time there is no cure for Leigh's disease and it typically kills the child by age 6 or 7; however a few patients have survived into their teens. Little Emilio is only 16 months old and God willing it's possible that with continued treatment he might live to see a cure.

Children's Hospital decided on March 12th that providing further care to Emilio would be "futile" and gave Ms. Gonzales only 10 days to find him a place at another facility before they would forcibly remove him from the respirator. Ms. Gonzales is a single mom who worked as a Wal-Mart cashier until Emilio became seriously ill. She struggles with English and feels that the healthcare staff and administrators have ridden roughshod over her.

Children's Hospital is a Catholic hospital and Bishop Gregory Aymond of the Diocese of Austin has been asked to intervene upon little Emilio's behalf. Unfortunately, neither the hospital nor Bishop Aymond are choosing to act in accordance with Catholic doctrine forbidding Euthanasia. While it is certainly morally acceptable to discontinue "extraordinary" medical treatment when the expended burdens are disproportionate to the expected benefits, CCC section 2278 states that it is the patient or next-of-kin who need to make that decision. Emilio's mother Catarina strenuously objects to discontinuing treatment at this time!

As the mom of a 16 month old myself, my heart goes out to Catarina Gonzales. I can't help but wonder if it were my DS who were ill would the hospital be pushing to take him off the respirator? Or would DH's and my socio-economic status, education, occupation (former in my case), marital status, private insurance coverage, and ethnicity cause the physicians and administrators to treat our DS better than little Emilio?

Please keep little Emilio and his mom Catarina in your prayers!

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