Judge rules that brain death test can be performed on 2-year-old

Judge rules that brain death test can be performed on 2-year-old

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A judge has ruled doctors can move forward with a "brain death test" for 2-year-old Mirranda Grace.She has been on a ventilator since choking on a piece of popcorn a month ago.

The family isn't talking right now. They're still coming to terms with this news. Their attorney tells NBC12 they'll most likely appeal this decision to get more time.

Coming into this ruling, Mirranda Grace's family was still holding onto hope.

"In my heart, I believe the judge is going to give us some amount of time, how much time I don't know," Mirranda's father Pat Lawson told NBC12 Thursday afternoon.

On Friday, Judge Melvin Hughes dashed those hopes by issuing a ruling saying VCU doctors could perform what's known as a "brain dead test." 
It's this test that has been at the center of a month-long battle.

"It's a test where they take the ventilator away for 10 minutes, which suffocates the patient, makes the carbon dioxide go up. When the carbon dioxide goes up, their brain swells, and they get worse... and they want to do this to Mirranda!" explained retired Dr. Paul Byrne.

Dr. Byrne testified in front of a judge Thursday, saying the test was dangerous and asked that it not be performed on the little girl.

But in the order handed down Friday, the judge authorized the test, saying it would determine "the existence, extent and viability of brain stem activity."

Previously, the head of pediatric critical care testified Mirranda is brain dead, but the family contends she needs different therapies. They have faith she'll wake up.

"Lord willing, my daughter will have enough time to pass her test, or as I've always felt, she's going to open her eyes up. She's going to be a testimony.  She has a lot of people praying for her right now," says Pat Lawson.

The Lawson family attorney tells NBC12 if they appealed the order, they would make sure it was stayed in the meantime, meaning the tests wouldn't be performed.

He says hearing back from the Supreme Court could take 30 days or even longer.

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