Fort Worth

Mother’s lawyers hope to keep hospital from removing 9-year-old from life support today

Lawyers for a mother who has been fighting to keep her 9-year-old child on life-support filed a new motion with the court on Monday that if granted could extend the girl’s time.

State District Judge Melody Wilkinson issued an order on Friday denying the extension of a temporary restraining order that prohibited Cook Children’s Medical Center from disconnecting life support from Payton Summons, a girl whose body is riddled with cancer and who was declared brain-dead by doctors when she arrived at Cook Children’s on Sept. 25.

That temporary restraining order expires at 1:20 p.m. today.

Paul Stafford, one of the attorney’s representing Payton’s mother, Tiffany Hofstetter, said earlier today that the lawyers were contemplating filing another motion. The Tarrant County district clerk’s office confirmed that the motion had been filed about noon.

Officials with Cook Children’s had previously issued a statement that said they are no longer allowed to speak to the public regarding the specifics of Payton’s case, citing patient privacy concerns.

But previous statements to the court from an attorney representing the hospital indicated that the law that covered situations similar to the one that Payton’s family faced did not apply because medical professionals had already reached the decision that Payton was dead.

An initial test conducted 24 hours after her arrival showed that Payton displayed no brain activity, according to a statement from the hospital. A subsequent confirming test was never administered due to the issuance of the court order, hospital officials said in their statement.

The court granted the 14-day temporary restraining order on Oct. 1 to give the family time to locate another hospital willing to care for Payton but they weren’t able to find one.

Laura Copeland, the attorney representing Cook Children’s, said the hospital contacted 28 other hospital facilities in an effort to find one that would accommodate Payton and her family.

“All of those facilities declined, because they know, as we know, that there is no recovery for Payton. She is already deceased,” she said Wednesday.

This story includes information from the Star-Telegram archives.

Mitch Mitchell: 817-390-7752, @mitchmitchel3
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