Fort Worth

Good wishes pour in for family of 9-year-old girl who died while on life support

The north Texas community rallied to support the parents of a 9-year-old girl who had been on life support since being declared brain dead on Sept. 25.

Services for Payton Summons, whose heart stopped about 8:30 p.m. Friday while she was connected to a ventilator, are still being finalized by her family, said Paul Stafford, one of the attorneys who represented the girl’s mother, Tiffany Hofstetter, and father, Joseph Summons, in court this month.

“The family was thankful for the extra time they got to spend with Payton and for all the prayers that they received for their daughter,” Stafford said.

A candlelight vigil was held Sunday in Grand Prairie where Payton played softball and members of Friendship West Baptist Church held a prayer service for the family earlier Sunday, according to reporting by NBCDFW.

The family appeared at several court hearings to keep Payton from being removed from the ventilator that was breathing for her. Payton suffered from cancer and developed a tumor that interfered with her circulation and kept her from being able to breathe on her own, according to physicians at Cook Children’s Medical Center.

Payton was declared brain dead by medical professionals within 24 hours of her arrival. Payton died just a few hours after a Fort Worth appeals court denied a writ that would have allowed doctors at Cook Children’s to disconnect her from the ventilator.

State District Judge Melody Wilkinson had granted the girl’s parents an additional week to seek out a healthcare facility that would care for their daughter on Monday, Oct. 15. The extended order would have expired at 6 p.m. today, and the expiration of the order would have cleared the way for the hospital to remove Payton from life support.

Payton’s heart stopped before the judge’s order expired and after all legal remedies available to the family had been taken.

“There was nothing more that we could have done for her in the courts,” Stafford said.

Mitch Mitchell: 817-390-7752, @mitchmitchel3
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