Mom Fights to Keep Baby on Life Support

DALLAS (AP) - A woman at odds with a hospital over whether it would be futile to continue life support for her 11-month-old son has been given two weeks to find a facility willing to take the baby.

Daniel Wayne Cullen II was hospitalized in early April after suffering from a lack of oxygen when he pulled out a tube that was helping him breathe. He had a tracheotomy after his premature birth.

Brian Potts, attorney for Daniel's mother, Dixie Belcher, said the boy is in stable condition and exhibiting some brain function, but not at normal levels. He's also on a ventilator and feeding tubes, Potts said.

Last month, the ethics board of Children's Medical Center Dallas agreed with the child's doctor that continued treatment would be futile.

On May 19, a judge granted Belcher a temporary restraining order blocking the hospital from ending life support. The parties agreed to a two-week extension at the end of May, and confirmed Thursday that they have agreed to a second extension.

"We've been making a lot of contacts and things look promising," Potts said.

Children's said the hospital could not comment further because of privacy laws and the involvement of Child Protective Services. Daniel and his older brother have been in CPS custody since Daniel was hospitalized.

CPS spokeswoman Marissa Gonzales has said Daniel was removed from Belcher's custody because there was reason to believe there had been neglectful supervision and medical neglect. Her parental rights have not been terminated, Gonzales said.

Under a Texas law signed by then-Gov. George W. Bush in 1999, hospitals don't have to continue life support more than 10 days after their ethics board decides lifesaving measures are pointless. Families, however, have the right to look for a facility that will continue treatment.

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