9-Year-Old Texas Girl at the Center of Life Support Court Battle Dies in Her Hospital Bed as Her Parents Fought to Find Doctors who Would Treat Her Despite ‘Brain Dead’ Diagnosis

Payton’s family contacted 25 hospitals in hopes that they could transfer Summons but no one would take her in

A nine-year-old Texas girl who was granted one more week on life support after being declared brain dead last month passed away Friday in her hospital bed.

Payton Summons took her last breath around 8:30pm at the Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth, the family’s attorney, Justin A. Moore, said in a statement.

‘Known by everyone as full of determination and fight she fought until her heart gave out.

‘After scoring a big win in the Appeals court today, she left us just a few hours later. She showed us how to fight against the odds. #RIPPJ,’ Moore wrote in the statement.

On Monday, State District Judge Melody Wilkinson extended an order that Cook Children’s Medical Center keep Payton on life support until 6pm on October 22.

Payton was taken to the hospital after suffering cardiac arrest at her grandmother’s house on September 25.

The hospital said in a statement the child had an inoperable tumor in her chest that restricted her circulation.

Twenty-four hours after Payton was admitted to the hospital, doctors conducted a brain death exam and found it conclusively confirmed she was brain dead. The youngster had already survived cancer.

Nine-year-old Payton Summons - who was declared brain dead - was scheduled to be taken off life support on Monday at the Cook Children's Medical Center. She died, however, FridayNine-year-old Payton Summons – who was declared brain dead – was scheduled to be taken off life support on Monday at the Cook Children’s Medical Center. She died, however, Friday
Payton (pictured getting treatment in a past photo) had a tumor that aided in the cardiac arrestPayton (pictured getting treatment in a past photo) had a tumor that aided in the cardiac arrest
'Payton Summons took her last breath around 8:30pm at the Cook Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth, the family's attorney, Justin A. Moore said‘Payton Summons took her last breath around 8:30pm at the Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth, the family’s attorney, Justin A. Moore said
The family's attorney, Justin A. Moore (pictured) announced the tragic news about Payton's deathThe family’s attorney, Justin A. Moore (pictured) announced the tragic news about Payton’s death

Doctors at the hospital initially wanted to remove Payton from life support, citing little to no hope of reviving the child.

Wilkinson ruled doctors could remove her from life support Monday afternoon when the parents could find no alternative facility.

Judge Melody Wilkinson of the 17th District Court of Texas agreed to the parents' request to keep Payton on life support for another weekJudge Melody Wilkinson of the 17th District Court of Texas agreed to the parents’ request to keep Payton on life support for another week

The family contacted 25 hospitals in hopes they could transfer the child, but no one would take her, according to co-counsel Paul Stafford.

Attorneys for her parents, though, asked for an extension after they and lawyers for the hospital couldn’t reach an agreement on a next step. 

Her mother, Tiffany Hofstetter, explained to KTVT about the September 25 incident that her daughter ‘screamed for her grandmother to help her and said that she couldn’t breathe … then she collapsed.’

Summons was taken to the hospital, and doctors were able to detect a heartbeat, but she was placed on a ventilator because she stopped breathing.

Doctors were able to revive her heartbeat, but found that Payton couldn’t breathe on her own.

She was without oxygen to the brain for almost an hour.

They then discovered she had a tumor twice the size of her heart, which was crushing Payton’s heart and lungs and cutting off her circulation.

Payton is pictured with her mother, Tiffany Hoffstetter, in this Facebook photoPayton is pictured with her mother, Tiffany Hoffstetter, in this Facebook photo
Payton had been sleeping when she woke up, 'screamed for her grandmother to help her and said that she couldn't breathe ... then she collapsed,' her mother, Tiffany Hofstetter, explainedPayton had been sleeping when she woke up, ‘screamed for her grandmother to help her and said that she couldn’t breathe … then she collapsed,’ her mother, Tiffany Hofstetter, explained
Payton was taken to the hospital, and doctors were able to detect a heartbeat, but the girl was placed on a ventilator because she stopped breathingPayton was taken to the hospital, and doctors were able to detect a heartbeat, but the girl was placed on a ventilator because she stopped breathing

Doctors also ran an electroencephalogram (EEG) test, which they said showed ‘no electrical activity in her brain.’

In September, the hospital released a statement that said: ‘Per our protocol and national pediatric medical standards, a second brain death exam was scheduled to take place by a different physician within 12 hours of the first to complete the legal process of declaring Payton deceased.

‘In addition to dealing with the sudden blow of her cardiac arrest and devastating brain injury, Payton’s family is also coping with the news that the arrest was caused by the growth of a very large tumor in her chest that is shutting off her circulatory system.’

Payton’s family had filed a temporary restraining order against the hospital to keep her on life support in the days after her suffered cardiac arrest.

Stafford said: ‘Unfortunately after 25 out of 28 facilities that were contacted, we had no takers, we have two maybes and those were preconditioned on certain things which may be life threatening to Payton if performed.’

Payton died at the Cook Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth, TexasPayton died at the Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texas

SOURCE: Associated Press / Daily Mail – Jessa Schroeder, Matthew Wright