*This story was originally published on November 14, 2019.
Four-year-old Clifton suffered a traumatic brain injury on June 20, 2012, and was flown to Children’s Memorial Hermann in Houston. Clifton was given a ventilator to regulate his breathing, a feeding tube, and blood pressure medications. The hospital demanded they would only continue providing care for Clifton if he had a Do-Not-Resuscitate order (DNR). His mother, Sandra, did not want to consent to a DNR but the doctor said, “I am not asking you. I am telling you.”
Clifton began having seizures and seemed unresponsive. Doctors pressured Sandra to give up on her son and donate his organs.
By the grace of God, Clifton began to move for the first time in weeks, and Sandra regained hope.
Despite his improvement, the hospital called multiple “ethics committee” meetings to discuss pulling the plug on Clifton (against Sandra’s will). At each meeting, there were as many as 25 people in the room, most of whom never treated or even examined Clifton. When Sandra asked questions or voiced concerns about her son, the committee replied, “This is not a courtroom where people can object. This isn’t up for discussion.”
Clifton’s health kept improving. He no longer needed any blood pressure medications, and his movements became more intentional. Despite all his progress, the hospital committee decided to pull the plug on Clifton (against Sandra’s will) and began the 10-day countdown.
On July 27, 2012, Sandra watched her son be removed from his ventilator. Doctors said they did not expect him to live more than 20 minutes off the ventilator, but for over an hour, Sandra watched her precious child convulse and gasp for air.
After what felt like everlasting emotional torture, Sandra’s son died in her arms. Clifton fought for his life for five weeks before the 10-Day Rule passively euthanized him. Sandra now fights for the lives of other Texas patients, sharing Clifton’s story so that one day, families will no longer have to fight against Texas hospitals for the lives of their loved ones.