Mother, attorney work to keep 14-year-old on life support
Sarah Jones doesn’t want to stop fighting.
“I'm fighting to keep my son alive,” Jones said. “It’s been a nightmare every day since we’ve been here.”
On Saturday, Sept. 21, her son, 14-year-old Bobby Reyes, went into cardiac arrest after suffering an asthma attack while she was driving him home in Monroe County. He was immediately transferred to C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor, where doctors declared him brain dead.
After conducting a series of tests, doctors announced to the family Reyes would not recover, and they would be taking him off of his life support Friday, Sept. 27. In response, Reyes’ family contacted an attorney to issue a court order that would extend his time on life support. On Monday, Washtenaw County’s 22nd Circuit Court ordered Michigan Medicine to delay taking Reyes off of life support.
Following the doctor’s decision, a Facebook page titled “Save Bobby” was created by the Reyes family’s friends and relatives. The page is intended to raise awareness about Bobby’s case, offer support to those close to him, and share information about potential medical alternatives. In the page’s description, the family pleads for community support and time.
“I'm trying to be strong even though I don't feel strong,” Jones said to The Daily. “I’m so weak. I'm tired. But I'm not going to quit fighting for my son as long as his heart is beating. I will be fighting for him to my last breath. And I said, whatever happens, it’s in God’s hands. If God takes my son while he’s on life support, you know, we’ll make peace with it, but I'll never have peace with knowing that I consented to pulling the plug on my son when he’s still here.”
A GoFundMe page was set up to help the family pay for legal fees associated with the court order and other costs to assist the family during this difficult time. Since it was published six days ago, it has raised more than $8,200.
“Every minute we have with him is a miracle,” Jones said. “He’s fighting, and I’m fighting harder for him. But we just want to bring attention to what’s going on at the hospitals, because I’m not the only one.”
Mary Masson, director of public relations for Michigan Medicine, said in an email statement to The Daily Tuesday the hospital would continue to support the family.
“All of us empathize with the extraordinarily emotional process that families facing such matters go through,” Masson wrote. “Michigan Medicine follows the State of Michigan law on determination of death, and conducts extensive testing before determining there is brain death due to the irreversible cessation of all functions of the entire brain. Our team of highly experienced and specialized nurses, doctors and other health professionals exhaust every available option to help patients who are critically ill.”
William Amadeo is one of the attorneys helping out the family. He said he heard about the case through social media.
“There were so many people that reached out to me on Facebook about a kid that’s dying,” Amadeo said. “I want to do my role to try to help the family. I mean, if there’s a chance that Bobby could live I thought I was obligated to try to help.”
Amadeo said his work typically focuses on criminal law, but he felt compelled to take on Bobby’s case pro bono.
“There are cases when people are in need, I’ll jump in,” Amadeo said. “But this was the first actual situation with somebody who was actually deemed brain dead and I was trying to help them out, so it was kind of a new experience for everybody.”
Amadeo said he worked with an attorney for the University to get the hospital records straightened out for the family and asked for people to continue to support the family.
“At this point, you need to find another doctor, and the family is doing everything possible for that,” Amadeo said.
Jones said she’s trying to move her son to a different hospital.
“Now we need to find a place to get him out of here because he needs to go someplace else that wants to help him and doesn't want to talk about, you know, pressuring his parents to do something that they don't agree with,” Jones said. “You got to go with your gut as a mother and my gut is telling me to fight ‘til my last breath for my son.”