Judge appoints attorney for Texas girl, 9, on life support

U.S. & World

 A judge has appointed an attorney for a 9-year-old North Texas girl whose parents are fighting to keep a hospital from disconnecting her life support.

State District Judge Melody Wilkinson says she wants the attorney to represent 9-year-old Payton Summons in any negotiations between her parents and Cook Children’s Medical Center. Another hearing has been set for Wednesday.

Earlier this week, the child’s family obtained a temporary court order blocking a hospital from disconnecting their daughter from life support.

The hospital declared Payton brain-dead. Her family has argued that she still has life.

The girl’s parents are fighting to keep her on life support while seeking another hospital to care for her.

Payton has been on life support at Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texas, since late September, after she went into cardiac arrest.

The girl has cancer and her tumor has grown to block her circulation and pressure her lungs and heart. Last week, she suffered a cardiac arrest and it took an hour to restart her heart.

By that time, however, her doctors said the lack of blood to her brain left her brain dead and beyond hope of recovery.

Last month, Payton was staying overnight with her grandmother when the young girl suddenly woke up, “screamed for her grandmother to help her and said that she couldn’t breathe … then she collapsed,” Payton’s mother, Tiffany Hofstetter, told CNN affiliate KTVT in September.

Payton was taken to the hospital, where doctors established a heartbeat but put her on a ventilator since she wasn’t breathing.

A test determined that Payton did not have brain activity.

Under Texas law, a person is considered dead when they have suffered an irreversible loss of all brain function, a hospital statement said, according to KTVT.

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