Fort Worth

Court grants parents’ motion to keep 9-year-old daughter on life support one more week

Court gives girl another week on life support

The court has granted a family another week to look for other treatment options for a cancer-ridden 9-year-old girl on life support that doctors have declared brain dead.
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The court has granted a family another week to look for other treatment options for a cancer-ridden 9-year-old girl on life support that doctors have declared brain dead.

A Texas court granted parents an additional week on Monday to seek out a health care facility that would care for their cancer-ridden daughter who’s on life support.

Payton Summons, 9, was due to be taken off life support at Cook Children’s Medical Center at 1:20 p.m. Monday. A motion to extend the girl’s time on life support was filed by the family’s lawyers less than an hour before a temporary restraining order was set to expire.

The extended order expires at 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 22. The court agreed with the attorneys representing Payton’s mother and father, Tiffany Hofstetter and Joseph Summons, that an extension in this circumstance would be appropriate.

The order that arose from the attorneys’ latest motion allows Payton’s parents an additional week to identify another hospital or health care facility where she can receive treatment and it allows time for the parents to say their goodbyes, if need be.

“I just wanted to make sure as Payton’s mother that I had done everything that I could possibly do for her,” Hofstetter said. “I want to be 125 percent sure that Payton was gone and right now I don’t feel like that.”

Payton was determined to be brain dead when she arrived at the hospital on Sept. 25, but doctors were prohibited from doing confirmatory testing after attorneys for the parents successfully filed a motion to keep her on life support.

Doctors would have been required to remove Payton from life support in order to conduct a second round of testing, which would have been in violation of the court order initially issued by State District Judge Melody Wilkinson on Oct. 1. The court could not order the hospital to conduct additional testing or to remove Payton from life support, Wilkinson said.

Paul Stafford, one of the attorneys representing Payton’s parents, told the court Monday that there were two doctors and possibly three facilities that may be able to care for Payton if she could no longer remain at Cook Children’s. The family’s attorneys told the court that new facilities where Payton could possibly receive treatment are being revealed to them daily.

The judge signed a 14-day temporary restraining order on Oct. 1 to keep the hospital from disconnecting Payton from life support. Payton is currently connected to a ventilation machine.

She suffers from cancer and has developed a tumor that has cut off her circulation, according to Laura Copeland, an attorney representing Cook Children’s.

Mitch Mitchell: 817-390-7752, @mitchmitchel3
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