- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 10, 2003

RICHMOND — Doctors at the University of Virginia Medical Center plan to remove the breathing tube today from a 26-year-old brain-damaged man whose court-appointed guardian decided to remove him from life support, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Jason Childress’ legal guardian said Tuesday that he had determined after interviews with 13 persons that Mr. Childress, the father of three who is not married, would not want to continue being kept alive on life support.

“I have given my consent to remove the tube for breathing and to enter a ‘do not resuscitate’ order,” retired Judge Herbert A. Pickford III said.

Mr. Childress has been in a vegetative state, unable to communicate, voluntarily move, or respond, since several portions of his brain were destroyed in a July 16 car wreck.

The case is unusual because the ultimate decision on whether to continue performing life-sustaining procedures came to rest with a neutral court-appointed guardian after his parents could not agree.

Mr. Childress’ mother, sister and fiancee have argued for ending life support, while his father and stepmother want to keep him alive.

Court documents indicate that Mr. Childress’ doctors expect he will die “in a matter of days” after the ventilator is removed. The feeding tube will not be removed yet.

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