Skip to comments.Comatose Mass. Girl Responds to Stimuli (Haleigh Poutre)
Posted on 01/19/2006 6:53:08 AM PST by ItsOurTimeNow
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) -- Doctors say new tests are needed on a severely beaten 11-year-old girl, who officials said was responding to medical stimuli and breathing on her own a day after Massachusetts' highest court ruled the state had the authority to remove her from life support.
Denise Monteiro, a spokeswoman for the state's Department of Social Services, which has custody of Haleigh Poutre, said doctors will perform more tests "to see what the movements mean."
She would not say how Haleigh was responding or to what tests. The girl has been in a coma for four months and thought to be in an irreversible vegetative state.
"There's a possible change in her condition," Monteiro said Wednesday. "She's having some responses."
Haleigh's stepfather, Jason Strickland, is charged with beating the girl and could face a murder charge if she dies. He has fought to keep her on life support but lost his appeal Tuesday in the Supreme Judicial Court, Massachusetts' highest court.
The court ruled that the social services department had the authority to remove the ventilator and feeding tube after doctors said the girl was in an irreversible vegetative state.
On Wednesday afternoon, however, doctors told the social services agency that Haleigh's condition had changed, Monteiro told the Boston Globe in its Thursday editions. She said Haleigh was breathing on her own and the agency had no immediate plans to remove her feeding tube.
(Excerpt) Read more at hosted.ap.org ...
"Irreversible vegetative state", huh?
Moral absolutes PING!
It's a good thing she wasn't in Florida. She'd be starved to death and the courts would see to that. The precedent has been set.
Prayers for that little girl.
"Breathing on her own" means you gotta feed her.
>>The precedent has been set.<<
Exactly right. Note how quickly they were to write her off.
It makes me want to vomit how flippant Death Doctors are with human life. I'm stunned by this comment:
"Some patients with severe brain stem injuries may partially recover from a persistent vegetative state, but they rarely recover fully enough to communicate, feed themselves and live ordinary lives, Dr. Steve Williams, chief of rehabilitation medicine at Boston Medical Center, told the Globe."
So, just because someone can't feed themselves or communicate they should be executed? WTF is wrong with these people? "Ordinary lives"? According to whose standards? Dr. Mengele's?
Lord help any of us if we find ourselves in such a situation. As one FReeper has in their tagline (paraphrase) "I'm only alive because a judge hasn't decided otherwise."
She said Haleigh was breathing on her own and the agency had no immediate plans to remove her feeding tube.
Yepper - everyone is so hell-bent on killing at the first possible moment. About 12 years ago, a friend's son was in a terrible car accident, comatose and definitely brain-damaged. The doctors recommende taking him off support and his father resisted. Two years ago, the young man obtained his Bachelors degree and is supporting himself.
I find it sad that you have to either have a strong advocate (family member, spouse) to petition your right to live, or something written in a will. If not, they'll pull the plug as soon as they get a chance.
Whatever happened to "erring on the side of life"?
Well, yeah, I know "not necessarily." There's just that minor difference between killing her, and letting her die....
These folks at the MA Supreme Court need a serious ass-kicking.
Years ago a friend of ours was in a coma for 4 months. She was bad enough that she was given last rites and her siblings were given power to manage her affairs so they sold all her stuff.
A year ago she just came back from a tour in Iraq.
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Prayers from TX
It is a difficult situation. I believe that if the state says no more life and the family wants more life, then the state does not have to pay any more for the hospital care. If the state votes to live than the state pays the entire thing. This is the most equitable possible situation. As conservatives lives and financial situations are difficult.
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Continuing to pray for Haleigh's recovery. It seems her will to live is stronger than the state's will to finish what her stepfather and mother started.
This is an excellent place for the parable of the good Samaritan.
Wonderful editorial cartoon!
Don't let that fool you. If it was a state school, he may still be comatose...
Now all they need is the one who beat her to be in charge of her rehabilitation, so they don't have to wrestle with these hard questions anymore. Ya know?
That's funny! but... that's not funny!
That is a GREAT cartoon! I'm gonna swipe it for passing around, OK?
John DePetro on WRKO has been on this story all week. Most of his callers have been siding with DSS and the doctors who want to withdraw her feeding tube. It's heart-wrenching.
You can listen to him live 9-12 here: http://www.wrko.com/showdj.asp?djid=14296
As the culture of death slouches one step closer towards the abyss.
This is not my grandfather's America.
By all means :)
It's drawn up by my current-favorite political cartoonist... he's also responsible for my tagline.
No kidding. What's changed just in the last ten years is amazing.
So now they'll pull her feeding tube.
It is a life or death situation -now as she can breath there are two options allowing her to live or killing her...
I believe that if the state says no more life and the family wants more life, then the state does not have to pay any more for the hospital care. If the state votes to live than the state pays the entire thing. This is the most equitable possible situation. As conservatives lives and financial situations are difficult.
I believe neither the state nor any other can say "no more life" UNLESS the person is convicted of a capital offense and to be executed.
There is a big difference between procuring death and permitting death -money does not factor into the equation.
I guess the all powerful State should just kill everyone in its care, except for the ones that somebody steps forward and supports. Sheesh!
The timing of her responses couldn't have been more remarkable. Some prayers of thanksgivng to almighty God are in order.
Thanks for the ping. I was specifically looking for this article. Prayers for Haleigh.
This is Haleigh Poutre:
Last fall, Haleigh was hospitalized after her stepfather allegedly burned her and beat her nearly to death with a baseball bat. Haleigh, in a coma, was kept alive by a feeding tube and ventilator. Doctors said she was "virtually brain dead" -- in a persistent vegetative state with no hope of recovery.
The Massachusetts Department of Social Services wanted to remove Haleigh's feeding and breathing tubes.
Even her biological mother (who had been deemed unfit to care for Haleigh and whose former boyfriend was accused of sexually abusing the child) wanted her to be put to death (transcript via Nexis/CBS Evening News):
CBS reporter SHARYN ALFONSI: This is Haleigh Poutre before, before her teeth were broken, before her tiny body was burned and before she was beaten, doctors say, into a vegetative state. You're her mother.
Ms. ALLISON AVRETT (Biological Mother): Yes.
ALFONSI: What do you want for her?
AVRETT: I want her to rest.
ALFONSI: And right now?
AVRETT: She's not. Being kept like that is not a life.
The only person who wanted Haleigh alive was her stepfather, who will likely be charged with murder if Haleigh dies.
Two days ago, Massachusetts' Supreme Court ruled against Haleigh's stepfather, saying it was ''unthinkable" to give the power to make a life-and-death decision to the man accused of putting Haleigh in a coma. "Court: State can let beaten girl die," the headlines trumpeted.
Just one small complication for all of those who, for whatever reason, were in such a rush to "let Haleigh die:"
Haleigh wants to live.
As state officials prepared to remove Haleigh's life support, the supposedly impossible happened:
A day after the state's highest court ruled that the Department of Social Services could withdraw life support from a brain-damaged girl, the agency said yesterday that Haleigh Poutre might be emerging from her vegetative state.
DSS also said it has no immediate plans to remove her feeding tube.
''There has been a change in her condition," said a DSS spokeswoman, Denise Monteiro. ''The vegetative state may not be a total vegetative state."
Monteiro said Haleigh is breathing on her own, without the ventilator she has depended on for four months. Monteiro also said that doctors at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield elicited responses from Haleigh during tests performed yesterday.
Everyone had given up on Haleigh--except Haleigh.
This is a huge story, a wake-up call to "right-to-die" ideologues who recklessly put such unlimited trust in the medical profession and Nanny State. The same government bureaucrats and doctors who had conclusively deemed the 11-year-old girl "hopeless" and her vegetative state "irreversible" now tell us she is responding to stimuli and breathing on her own.
They were wrong.
Next, look for The Professionals to tell us that despite her improvements, her "quality of life" will be worthless. We already know how they feel about people with feeding tubes.
Haleigh's fight has just begun.
When the state condemns a convicted murderer to die, Hollywood celebrities trip all over themselves to protest.
Where are the Tinseltown activists who will rally to protect a truly innocent life?
Ace of Spades: "I do think it's interesting that a court can spot a conflict-of-interest, but only when the purported guardian with the conflict-of-interest is in favor of keeping the patient alive."
See-Dubya at Patterico's: "Unlike the Schiavo case, not only has Haleigh not told anyone of her true wishes, but she legally cant make these kind of decisions. There should be a presumption that people, that children, even brain-damaged orphans, ought to live."
Karol at Alarming News frames the ghouls' position succinctly: "Quick, let's starve her to death!"
On the prospects of recovery:
Some patients with severe brain stem injuries may partially recover from a persistent vegetative state, but they rarely recover fully enough to communicate, feed themselves and live ordinary lives, Dr. Steve Williams, chief of rehabilitation medicine at Boston Medical Center, told the Globe. But he said recovery is more likely with children than adults.
Theres more plasticity to their brain. Theres potentially other areas of the brain that can take over, he said.
More background on the case via the Boston Globe:
After her biological mother, Allison Avrett, was deemed unfit to care for her and Avrett's former boyfriend was accused of sexually abusing Haleigh, the girl went to live with Avrett's sister, Holli Strickland.
From the time Haleigh was 6, she lived in Westfield with Holli and Jason Strickland, who married in 2001. Holli Strickland legally adopted the girl when she was 7. As she went through elementary school, the DSS received numerous complaints from sources it won't name that Haleigh was being neglected or abused, but never concluded that the Stricklands' home was unsafe.
Last Sept. 11, relatives took the unconscious girl to a local hospital. She was found to have bruises all over her body, at different stages of healing, as well as severe traumatic brain injuries and a body temperature of 85 degrees. Doctors determined that her injuries could not have been self- inflicted.
As DSS took custody of the girl and began hearings for a do-not-resuscitate order, Holli and Jason Strickland were arrested on Sept. 20 on child abuse charges.
Holli Strickland, 32, was released on bail two days later, and within hours, was found dead alongside her grandmother. Police continue to investigate the two deaths, but say they believe it might have been a murder-suicide, though they are unsure who shot whom.
In October, the state won a court order from a juvenile court judge to cut off life-support systems for Haleigh.
Jason Strickland, 31, filed an appeal with the Supreme Judicial Court seeking to reverse the juvenile court ruling and keep her attached to life-support systems.
He denied accusations by relatives that he wanted to prolong Haleigh's life to avoid murder charges. He argued he was a "de facto" parent who helped financially support the family and helped care for Haleigh.
But the high court flatly rejected Strickland's arguments, saying in yesterday's opinion that there was little proof that he was significantly involved in her upbringing.
The court also said it took into account that the stepfather refused to testify about how Haleigh suffered the bruises and other injuries, asserting his constitutional right against self-incrimination.
"To recognize the petitioner as a de facto parent, in order that he may participate in a medical end-of-life decision for the child, is unthinkable in the circumstances of this case," Greaney wrote.
Avrett Haleigh's biological mother, who said she never wanted to give up custody of Haleigh said yesterday she is relieved by the ruling, though happy that more medical tests will be conducted.
When she visited Haleigh at the hospital last week, she said, she observed Haleigh's hand moving, which gave her new hope that Haleigh's condition might have changed.
But Avrett said she was later convinced by DSS officials and doctors that those movements were involuntary and not signs of revived brain function.
"I agree with the removal of life support, but it [the court ruling] doesn't make it any easier," she said. "I'm still burying my daughter."
Not so fast.
Please see post #35 for Michelle's views... as many of you know, Michelle is often the voice of these children, with or without MSM involvement. God Bless her!
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Chief Justice, the foreigner, Maggie Marshall?
This little fighter, Haleigh, should go to the top of everyone's prayer list tonight, and in the days and weeks to come. She just looks like the spunkiest kid in her pre-injury photo. I have a feeling that she can make it all the way back, if given the chance.
God bless Haleigh; Holy Guardian Angels, watch over her; Mary, Health of the Sick, heal her.
I think some people may have overlooked the fact that the mind of a child is far more physically malleable than that of an adult. It's been documented many times over that children who lose function in one part of their brains can regain it by establishing that function elsewhere. Adult brains don't so this, but kids brains aren't hardwired yet. As long as the stem is functional, there's a slim chance she might recover.
The saddest part for her is that if she DOES recover, she'll be a ward of the state. Mom is dead, stepdad will be in prison forever, and mom apparently took out grandma in the process of killing herself. There's a biodad, but he's apparently a lowlife criminal who's sitting in prison right now, who she's never known, and who has already publically endorsed letting her die.
No because we are not talking about people who are just sick. We are talking about people who are pretty comotose. There is a big difference. You can pay for the care I don't care, but I don't particularly want too. It should be up to the families. I am surprised that you would want a bigger government paying for this.
When the State takes custody of children and disabled adults, they take on the responsibility of paying for their food and water. What you are suggesting is barbaric. It doesn't matter who has custody of the person, murdering them to save money is wrong.
This ain't America anymore.
If your values were actually in place I'm sure you'd be dead or a slave all ready.
The very thing you wish to destroy is what has allowed you to live your comfortable easy life.
What is troubling is that the recent Supreme Court decision to allow "Doctor Assisted Suicide" was based solely on the belief in the expertise of doctors to determine when a life is worthy of assisted suicide.
Why I am not physically sick. I don't know what you are talking about. Your taxes are going to go up skyhigh with you non conservative morals.
Food and water would be fine, but we are talking an exteme amount of money to keep them alive. I am pro-life as far as abortion, but Euthanasia is a totally different thing. Do you realize how expensive this could be when the Baby Boomer start demanding to stay alive with no chance of a normal life. It shutters me to think that this would destroy the economy. You must be a boomer if you agree with this. Obviously I am not. However, this is an argument that cannot win so let's just agree to disagree. Thank you and have a great day.
You are clearly stupid and inferior.
If your advocated morals were the norm and acceptable, you'd simply have been done away with one way or another or enslaved.
I mean, your response of "duh, my taxes what is goin go up ifn we don't kill this little girl" puts you in the hall of fame for cretinistic post here at FR.
That is the most irrational flame I ever heard. You are obviously afraid that your are going to be in this condition and nobody to take care of you old a@@ and hope the government will take care of you like they have your whole disgusting life. I am sorry if my statement hit close to home. I am sorry that you live a immoral life that is dictated by the government. There are many here who will feel your pity and not mine. If that makes you feel any better so be it. Later. Don't have time for you. I must get to work unlike you who receives a check from the government their whole lives.
Lighten up a bit.