Court battle brewing after doctors declare toddler brain-dead

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ROSEVILLE, Calif. - The battle over a toddler's life is being decided in a California courtroom.

In April, 2-year-old Israel Stinson was rushed to a hospital after suffering a severe asthma attack.

Doctors say Israel fell into a coma and was declared brain-dead by three doctors at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center.

However, Israel's parents say they don't believe that is the case.

"The minute that we come in the room, we say, 'Hey, Israel.' He moves as if he's very happy to be present with us," said Jonee Fonseca, Israel's mother.

Doctors at the hospital say it is not what it seems.

"Unfortunately, Israel's mother, family, and attorneys, all nonmedical professionals, interpret Israel's spinal reflex as a sign his brain may be functioning or even that he is recovering," Dr. Michael Myette said. "They are incorrect. The videos offered by Israel's mother merely show the single ... spinal reflex."

The hospital says nothing can be done for Israel at this point, but his parents are seeking a court order to force doctors to perform a tracheotomy and give him a feeding tube, court documents claim.

"The hospital won't help the process. They won't feed him. They won't give him any kind of nutrition and they won't feed him. So how is he gonna heal?" asked Cedric Stinson, the boy's grandfather.

"He needs protein and fat and vitamins and minerals. And he hasn't has any of these since the first of April. And it's absolutely shameful that he should be starved of these things," said Dr. Paul Byrne, a neurologist and a consultant for the Stinson family.

Court documents say that doctors at the hospital claim Israel's gastrointestinal system doesn't work.

A judge will decide what happens next in the coming days.

"Our hearts go out to this family as they cope with the irreversible brain death of their son. We continue to offer our support and compassion to the family during this sad time. We will continue to follow the court's directions," a statement from Edwin Garcia, a spokesman for Kaiser Permanente, read in part.

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