Yesterday I met with Jonee Fonseca to talk about the Charlie Gard case. Jonee’s two-year-old son Israel was forcibly removed from life support last year after suffering a brain injury.
Life Legal represented Jonee in her fight to save her son’s life. A hospital in Northern California declared Israel brain dead and then refused to feed him, saying his digestive system was “dead.” We were able to get Israel transferred to a hospital in Central America, where a wonderful team of pro-life doctors provided him with appropriate care and nutrition. Not only was Israel’s digestive system fully functional, but brain scans showed that Israel had active brain waves, which meant he was not brain dead.
Because Israel’s insurance company would not pay for his care overseas, Israel had to be transferred back to the U.S. The receiving hospital refused to reexamine Israel and would not permit an independent neurologist to examine him. As Israel’s parents were making arrangements to care for their son at home, the hospital abruptly withdrew his ventilator, ending Israel’s life.
Jonee shared her thoughts about Charlie Gard and urged his parents to continue to stand strong for their son. She talked about the inherent value of human life, saying, “The reality is that we have sick people in this world and we have to take care of them.” Just like Charlie Gard, Jonee’s son was a victim of the utilitarian worldview that says, “At the end of the day, if this person isn’t going to give back to society, if this person doesn’t meet our standards, then we’re not going to care for them. We don’t want them here.”
Jonee is still grieving the loss of her son, but she wants to speak out about her experience to encourage other parents to fight for their children.