Judge grants injunction to keep woman declared brain dead on life support
Chris Fox, CP24.com
Published Thursday, September 28, 2017 9:20PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, September 28, 2017 10:46PM EDT
A Brampton judge has granted a two-week injunction that will prevent doctors from taking a woman who was declared brain dead on September 20 off life support.
Ontario Superior Court Justice Lucille Shaw granted the injunction on Thursday in order to allow Taquisha McKitty to be evaluated by another doctor.
McKitty was declared dead by a doctor at Brampton Civic Hospital on Sept. 20 following a drug overdose but her family and friends have been fighting that judgment ever since, arguing that the 27-year-old woman continues to show signs of life.
“If you are there with her and you touch her and you grab her feet, she will pull her feet from you. If you tickle her she will move her feet. In one instance one of her cousins was squeezing her hand and asked her to show her thumb and she moved her thumb,” McKitty’s father Stanley Stewart told CP24 on Thursday night. “We know for a fact that she is alive because if she was dead and her brain was dead there is no way that a week-and-a-half later she would still be moving. If you are brain dead then no parts should be moving.”
Stewart said that his daughter was breathing on her own for three days after first being checked into hospital on Sept. 14 but was given “no intervention” and was eventually put on life support.
The family was then given a death certificate on Sept. 20.
“What’s going on here is the young lady is living,” Dr. Paul A. Byrne, a retired American doctor retained by the family to speak on their behalf, told CP24 on Thursday. “A declaration by a doctor does not make someone dead. There is clearly a difference between being alive and being dead and she is alive. Her heart beats, she has circulation, she moves her legs and she responds to the family.”
Byrne told CP24 that he believes doctors are rushing to declare McKitty brain dead so that her organs can be donated.
For its part, the William Osler Health System said in a statement that its physicians “adhere to an extensive and exhaustive end of life process in all end of life cases.”
While the hospital said that it can’t comment specifically on McKitty’s case due to patient confidentiality, it can confirm that at least two physicians must sign off for someone to be declared brain dead.
“We continue to communicate with the family directly about this matter, and offer support.” the statement said.
Meanwhile, Byrne said that all the family wants is for their loved one to be given "proper treatment." he said it is his belief that McKitty could still recover.
"Patients like this, if they treat them with thyroid hormones and other things, they have a chance to continue to live," he said.