Family fights to keep teen alive as hospital decides to end life support


Leigh Frillici / KHOU 11 News

Posted on June 30, 2011 at 5:57 PM

Updated Friday, Jul 1 at 1:02 AM

HOUSTON --- The family of a 14-year-old boy who has an inoperable brain tumor is fighting to keep him alive after a hospital decided to discontinue treatment.

Texas Children's Hospital has decided to cut off life support for Jordan Allen, who is in a coma. Texas law allows hospitals and doctors to review someone's case and decide if life-sustaining treatment should be continued, or whether it's inappropriate.

Rosalyn Allen and her husband Samuel Allen received a letter last week from Texas Children's Hospital saying that Jordan has both a “terminal and irreversible condition.”  The letter explains that a bio-ethicist panel has considered her son's case and decided that "life-sustaining treatment should be discontinued."

So Jordan's life support will be removed by Sunday if he isn't transferred to another facility.

“Our physician for Jordan is a doctor that condemned him,” his father said.

Before last year Jordan appeared to be a healthy child who loved sports. Then he started getting headaches and was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. Just last month, he went into cardiac arrest, slipped into a coma and was put on a ventilator. Still, his parents believe he's showing progress.

“He's moving his head, and he's just looking around,” his mother said.

The letter from the hospital says, “Texas Children's must make a reasonable effort to transfer Jordan to another facility that will take him.”

The hospital said it will do that and his parents say they've found one. The insurance company originally said it would not pay for Jordan’s treatment based on Texas Children Hospital's evaluation of Jordan’s condition.

“When insurance company asked to speak to doctor he condemned Jordan again,” his father said.

But the insurance company later announced that it would pay for his treatment at another hospital. 

Now the Allens say they wish they could turn back the clock.

“We would never have came to Texas Children’s had I known they had the bioethics committee,” Jordan’s father said.

The Allens said they want as much time as they can get with their son.

“Until God says it's time for Jordan to die, we’re not accepting nothing else,” his mother said. 

Texas Children’s Hospital released a statement saying:

"This is a challenging and emotional time for the patient and his family and the doctors and staff of Texas Children's Hospital. Our collective hearts go out to our patient and his family as they strive to determine what is best for their family."

"In cases where there is a disagreement about medical treatment, Texas Children’s Hospital’s Bioethics Committee, which is composed of members of the Houston community, clergy, bioethicists, physicians of various disciplines, nurses, social workers and health care administrators, reviews the physicians’ recommendation that care should be withdrawn.  These members of the committee, many of whom are parents themselves, are sensitive and highly skilled.  They take into account ethical considerations, state law, and the parents’ position regarding life-sustaining treatment in reviewing the treatment decisions regarding the patient."