Friday, April 29, 2005

A final word on Teron Francis

Teron Francis, the unfortunate 13-year-old Bronx boy who developed meningitis from a dental abscess and was declared brain dead last week, leading to a legal battle by the family to prevent the hospital from disconnecting him from the ventilator was finally taken off the ventilator yesterday afternoon, after which his body died. Apparently, his body had begun to deteriorate physically (which is what bodies do once the brain dies). Unfortunately, the news coverage still got it wrong, with headlines like "Brain Dead Bronx Teen Dies" (no, he was already dead) and mush-brained quotes like this from the family's lawyer Robert Genis, who was all over the news last night:
It was like watching an execution. You're watching the doctors and nurses disconnect everything, then you are just waiting for him to stop being a human being.
No, it's not anything like an execution. I know from personal experience of having had to do the disconnection that it's very sad and painful for the family and staff, but it's nothing like an execution. It is the acknowledgment of reality, that Teron passed on over a week ago. Tragically, that is when Teron stopped "being a human being," not yesterday. Genis' ill-advised legal intervention and Judge McKeon's bad decision only prolonged the agony of the family and served to muddy New York case law with regard to brain death. It would not surprise me in the least if several more similar legal actions ensue.

Thanks to Vanessa for pointing out the above quote to me.

7 example(s) of insolence returned:


At 4/30/2005 4:12 AM, Anonymous Vanessa said...

I would make a subtle nuance though. If the parents had been fighting the hospital for continued treatment and lost, I wouldn't have agreed with his statement but I would have understood it.

It's the fact that the parents - his clients - changed their position and decided that the only right thing to do was to have the ventilator disconnected instead of waiting for the heart to fail that makes it so wrong.

The parents weren't resigned that their struggle was in vain, they came to the sad realization that Teron was indeed already dead. I wouldn't ever argue that watching it wasn't heartbreaking for them and it's not something anyone would ever want to have to witness, but they were saying goodbye to their son and finding closure.

His personal statement stands in harsh contrast of his clients' wishes and intentions which is why he probably made things worse for them than they should have been and shouldn't have represented them in first place. The comment just screams "ulterior motive" to me.

The judge's comment of "I would like to believe that the justice system is a living force that brought compassion and caring to a tragic family" (New York Post) on the other hand is entirely appropriate and considerate and right on par with their decision.

 

At 5/04/2005 6:25 PM, Blogger Curious JD said...

Orac,

Don't you get tired of being misleading? It doesn't muddy any case law because it's not a reported case. It has no precedential value.

How long will it take before you admit you're wrong about future legal action, by the way? After a year? Maybe two?

You chicken littles are ridiculous.

 

At 5/04/2005 7:24 PM, Blogger Orac said...

And your attempts to troll me into getting into an argument with you are as obvious as they have become tiresome.

 

At 5/06/2005 11:30 AM, Blogger Curious JD said...

I can't defend my position, so I call names. I somehow expected more from you.

 

At 5/06/2005 11:58 AM, Blogger Orac said...

What specific "name" did I call you?

None.

I merely pointed out that your attempts to lure ("troll") me into an argument with you are obvious and tiresome.

And they are both.

 

At 7/12/2005 8:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

According to the following article, published on June 29, in the NY Daily News, a nasal infection--NOT a dental infection---killed Teron.



Brain infection killed Teron - autopsy

BY PAUL H.B. SHIN
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER

A 13-year-old Bronx boy whose family fought to keep him on a respirator for a week after he was declared brain dead succumbed to a bacterial infection, according to autopsy results unveiled yesterday.

Teron Francis' condition turned grave shortly after he was admitted to BronxLebanon Hospital Center in April for a headache.

Doctors initially believed a tooth infection may have spread to his brain.

The city medical examiner said yesterday Teron died of complications of meningoencephalitis - a swelling of the brain.

"There was a bacterial infection in his nasal cavity and the infection went to his brain," said Ellen Borakove, a spokeswoman for the agency.

Bronx-Lebanon spokesman Errol Schneer said hospital officials were "saddened by the untimely death of Teron Francis."

But the autopsy "indicates that the medical and dental care that he received at Bronx-Lebanon did not in any way contribute to his death," he said.

But a Francis family lawyer said there were still unanswered questions. "The real question is how is it that a 13-year-old child with a relatively routine condition of sinusitis ends up with bacterial meningitis that leads to his death," said Robert Genis, the Francis family's lawyer.

Teron was moved to Montefiore Medical Center on April 19 - the day after he was admitted to Bronx-Lebanon. He was declared brain dead shortly before noon on April 21.

State Supreme Court Judge Douglas McKeon made a dramatic bedside ruling the next night, heeding the family's pleas to keep him on the respirator. Teron's mom, Marcerlyn Francis, later agreed to let doctors take her son off the respirator after getting a

 

At 7/12/2005 8:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

According to the following article, published on June 29, in the NY Daily News, a nasal infection--NOT a dental infection---killed Teron.



Brain infection killed Teron - autopsy

BY PAUL H.B. SHIN
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER

A 13-year-old Bronx boy whose family fought to keep him on a respirator for a week after he was declared brain dead succumbed to a bacterial infection, according to autopsy results unveiled yesterday.

Teron Francis' condition turned grave shortly after he was admitted to BronxLebanon Hospital Center in April for a headache.

Doctors initially believed a tooth infection may have spread to his brain.

The city medical examiner said yesterday Teron died of complications of meningoencephalitis - a swelling of the brain.

"There was a bacterial infection in his nasal cavity and the infection went to his brain," said Ellen Borakove, a spokeswoman for the agency.

Bronx-Lebanon spokesman Errol Schneer said hospital officials were "saddened by the untimely death of Teron Francis."

But the autopsy "indicates that the medical and dental care that he received at Bronx-Lebanon did not in any way contribute to his death," he said.

But a Francis family lawyer said there were still unanswered questions. "The real question is how is it that a 13-year-old child with a relatively routine condition of sinusitis ends up with bacterial meningitis that leads to his death," said Robert Genis, the Francis family's lawyer.

Teron was moved to Montefiore Medical Center on April 19 - the day after he was admitted to Bronx-Lebanon. He was declared brain dead shortly before noon on April 21.

State Supreme Court Judge Douglas McKeon made a dramatic bedside ruling the next night, heeding the family's pleas to keep him on the respirator. Teron's mom, Marcerlyn Francis, later agreed to let doctors take her son off the respirator after getting a

 

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