Girl Dies After Court Allows More Time on Life Support

October 20, 2018 Updated: October 20, 2018

FORT WORTH, Texas—A 9-year-old Texas girl at the center of a three-week court battle with a hospital to keep her on life support has died hours after an appeals court allowed her parents more time to find a facility to maintain her life support.

A spokeswoman for Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that Payton Summons died on the evening of Oct. 19. She declined further comment.

The Texas 2nd Court of Appeals on Friday afternoon had upheld a Oct. 15 court order allowing her parents to keep her on life support at Cook until Oct. 22.

The hospital’s doctors had declared the child brain-dead and beyond hope of recovery after her heart went into cardiac arrest for an hour on Sept. 25. They had wanted to remove her from life support on Oct. 1, but her parents obtained a court order blocking the move for a week. After the order expired but before hospital doctors could remove her life support, the parents obtained another week extension after failing to find a facility willing to assume her life support. That extension was to expire at 6 p.m. Monday.

Attorneys for the hospital appealed, saying the extension asked hospital staff to maintain a dead person on ventilation and continue treating a “deceased deteriorating body.” The attorneys argued such measures were “medically, ethically, and morally repugnant.”

RECOMMENDED