Toronto

'My daughter is not dead': Family gets injunction to keep this Brampton woman on life support

A death certificate has been issued for Taquisha McKitty but her family has fought to keep her on life support, and Thursday a court issued an injunction to allow that to continue until a hearing next month.

Taquisha McKitty, 27, has been declared brain dead but her family says she shows signs of life

Taquisha McKitty has been declared brain dead but her family says she shows signs of life. (Instagram)

A Brampton family battling in Ontario Superior Court to prevent doctors from pulling the plug from a 27-year old woman has new hope after a judge granted another injunction to keep her on life support until a hearing next month. 

"My daughter is not dead — she shows that every day," Taquisha McKitty's father Stanley Stewart said outside the Brampton courthouse Thursday.

Although her attending physician, Dr. Omar Hayani at Brampton Civic Hospital, declared her brain dead, Stewart maintains his daughter shows signs of life, squeezing the hands of loved ones and even shedding tears. 

McKitty, who has a young daughter, went into cardiac arrest due to a drug overdose on Sept. 14. 

Her father says she was breathing on her own for the first few days but her condition worsened.

McKitty's dad Stanley Stewart said last month that his daughter "needs to be treated like a patient and given the proper care." (Pelin Sidki/CBC News)

On Sept. 20, her death certificate was issued but the family got an emergency injunction the next day to prevent doctors from withdrawing life support. 

Stewart believes doctors were quick to give up on his daughter, and he thinks it's because she has signed an organ donation card. She was "treated as a body," he said. 

"They were looking at her for her organs and that's wrong," he told CBC Toronto.

The family lawyer made similar claims in court Thursday. 

Erica Baron, lawyer for Dr. Omar Hayani, responded on behalf of her client.

"I'm trying not to be outraged; that's certainly not what's going on," she said.

Alineh Haidery, a spokesperson for William Osler Health System, which includes Brampton Civic Hospital, would not speak to the specifics of the case due to patient privacy but did provide a statement. 

"All cases of this nature are very tragic and our hearts go out to the families and loved ones in these situations," the statement reads.

Haidery said in "cases of neurological determination of death" the physicians follow "standards of practice and criteria established in 2006 by nationally recognized experts and accepted by many medical societies in Canada."

Still McKitty's family will keep fighting the death certificate.

Taquisha McKitty is seen here with her daughter. (Instagram)

Outside the courthouse Thursday, McKitty's aunt Angele Stewart said "no family, no one should have to go through what we're going through because my niece is very much alive." 

The family wants the death certificate withdrawn but it will be up to the Justice M.J. Lucille Shaw.

A hearing has been scheduled for Oct. 17 and 18.

A GoFundMe account to help the family with legal costs has been set up. In the meantime, Stanley Stewart is hoping his daughter will hang on to make a full recovery.

"She's very hurt and she's very sick, but she is not dead."

About the Author

Makda Ghebreslassie

CBC Toronto reporter

Makda is a CBC Video-Journalist, who from time to time fills in as TV news anchor and a newsreader on Here and Now and Fresh Air. She worked in newsrooms in Sudbury, Sault Ste. Marie and Windsor before moving back home to Toronto. makda.ghebreslassie@cbc.ca