RENO, Nev. (AP) — A fight over a Reno hospital providing life-support for a 20-year-old woman goes back before a judge on Tuesday for more arguments about the legal standard for brain death and tests to prove it.
A decision isn’t immediately expected. Washoe County Family Court Judge Frances Doherty is due to hold at least one more hearing Jan. 22 before ruling.
The Nevada Supreme Court sent the case back to Doherty last month, saying she too quickly rejected Aden Hailu family’s bid to have Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center keep her on life-support.
Hailu’s father, Fanuel Gebreyes, wants the hospital to treat his daughter or place her in a facility that will.
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Attorney David O’Mara, representing the father, said Monday he expects the hospital will ask the judge to order Gebreyes to allow brain wave tests.
The hospital argues that’ll show Hailu is brain dead and a ventilator and intravenous tubes should be removed.
William Peterson, an attorney representing the hospital, told the judge during a hearing a month ago that new tests should satisfy the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the law — that brain death can’t be determined without a flat-line electroencephalogram.
Saint Mary’s doctors have said three electroencephalogram, or EEG, tests conducted during the first two weeks of April showed brain function, and no EEG tests were performed after that.
Gebreyes has refused to consent to new tests. He has instead insisted that Hailu be given thyroid medication and a tracheostomy so she can receive nutrition through her throat, not just IV fluids.
A hospital spokeswoman said a statement is expected from the facility following Tuesday’s hearing.
Hospital officials declared Hailu brain dead May 28, almost two months after she became unresponsive during abdominal surgery and never awoke from anesthesia.
The University of Nevada, Reno, freshman had been hospitalized April 1 after complaining of abdominal pain. Doctors said she suffered severe low blood pressure and a lack of oxygen to the brain during the surgery.
Gebreyes has declined interview requests. O’Mara said Gebreyes knows Hailu’s condition isn’t good, but believes she can recover.
Ritter reported from Las Vegas.