An Alberta Court of Queen's Bench justice has ordered an Edmonton hospital not to remove a ventilator that is keeping a three-month-old infant alive until a court hearing can be held on his medical condition.
Physicians at the Stollery Childrens' Hospital had planned to take Isaiah May off life support on Wednesday because they believe he has no chance of recovering from brain damage he suffered at birth. But his parents, Rebecka and Isaac May of Rocky Mountain House, Alta., went before a judge on Tuesday seeking a 90-day injunction preventing the hospital from removing the ventilator.
The judge ordered the hospital to maintain the status quo until a full hearing can be held on the baby's care. The lawyer for the physicians did not object to keeping Isaiah on a ventilator until that hearing takes place.
The lawyers for both sides will appear before Justice Michelle Crighton on Jan. 27 to say whether both sides have agreed on an independent expert to assess the baby's condition.
"It's been very stressful. It's been very hard and very challenging. But every time I hold my son and I look in his eyes, it gives me the strength to face another day," Rebecka May said to reporters outside the Edmonton courthouse.
Isaiah May was deprived of oxygen at birth after the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck. Doctors have determined he has suffered irreversible brain damage and there is no chance he will recover.
In a letter dated Jan. 13, the clinical director for the neonatal intensive care unit told the Mays that Isaiah's physicians believe that removing the child from the ventilator is medically reasonable, ethically responsible and appropriate.
But the Mays hope that someone might be able to help Isaiah.
"We wouldn't let this go on forever but right now … we want to seek other medical attention and do what's best for Isaiah right now," Isaac May said.
Rebecka May said her son is improving and has already proved the medical experts wrong a number of times.
"He is doing everything they said that he would not do. Every day he does something new. So that helps us to fight," she said. "His eyes dilate. He opens his eyes. He moves his limbs. He's growing. He's gaining weight. He's living. They told us he would never do any of that."
Both sides will now try to find an independent medical expert to assess Isaiah's condition. Another hearing could be held to discuss whether the ventilator should be removed, depending on the outcome of that assessment.