FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – The battle continued Monday morning for two Fort Worth parents fighting to keep their daughter on life support at Cook Children’s Medical Center.
Nine-year-old Payton Summons’ parents said doctors told them she has no brain activity, but her heart is still beating on its own.
“Your heart is still beating… there’s still life in there,” said Payton’s mother, Tiffany Hofstetter. “We know our kid. She’s never given up on anything, it doesn’t matter what it was. Her heart is beating. She’s strong. They thought she wasn’t going to make it through the weekend and here we are Monday and she made it.”
Despite a beating heart, the hospital needs to check for brain activity and then discuss next steps for Payton. They were going to check again at noon on Monday, but a judge ordered them not to touch Payton pending litigation.
No matter what the hospital decides, Payton’s parents have already made up their minds and hired an attorney to file a restraining order to keep her alive.
“Once you get in this position you have to keep doing everything you can to keep your child alive,” said Payton’s father. “We’re going to thoroughly research different facilities and hopefully get an acceptance from them. I would like to stay local because I have two other children that I still have to care for. If I can’t find anything locally and the only one that will take her is out of state then I’m willing to give her a chance.”
The Summons’ attorney, Justin Moore, said Payton’s parents don’t believe their child is brain dead.
“They think she can still recover.”
Moore also expressed his dismay at Cook Children’s Medical Center’s approach to Payton’s care saying, “If they render you inoperable, they want to get rid of you immediately. They put overhead above lives…they worry about costs over patients.”
Cook Children’s disputes that claim, saying in a statement: Cook Children’s will comply with Judge Wilkinson’s order to maintain Payton on ventilator support to allow her family time to explore whether she can be transported to another facility. During that time, we will hold off on performing the second brain death examination. The purpose of the second exam is to provide an independent examination to confirm the first test that showed zero brain activity which, under Texas law, means that Payton is considered brain dead.
Our physicians and nurses will continue to administer the best possible care for Payton. In addition, our staff will assist Payton’s family and their attorney in their effort to get her transferred to another facility. We respect the effort of Payton’s family to do what they believe is best for their child. We experience this kind of parental passion every day and always work alongside the parents.
More than a week has passed since Payton went into cardiac arrest. Doctors revived her heartbeat, but she was placed on a ventilator. They found a large tumor in her chest.
Payton didn’t show any brain activity when tested last week. The hospital granted the family time to find another facility to move her to. But so far they’ve been unsuccessful in finding a place for her to go.