Family battles hospital over taking man off life support

CHULA VISTA — A Southern California family is battling with a Chula Vista hospital over removing their loved one from life support.

Kesell Macias is currently in critical condition at Scripps Mercy Chula Vista and family members said the hospital is planning to take him off life support on Monday at 8 pm.

His health problems began months ago after he suffered complications from a weight loss surgery in Tijuana.

“January 30 in the morning, he woke up vomiting blood,” said Betsy Macias, sister. “So they called up his doctor and the doctor said ‘bring him back over here. It’s something normal I can fix it.’ But on the way back, he had a heart attack so the ambulance brought him to Scripps Mercy.”

Now, two months later, Kesell remains in a coma. Betsy Macias said doctors plan to take Kesell off life support against their will. She said she was notified Wednesday.

“The first thing that came were the tears, you know,” said Betsy Macias. “And the shock for about less than a minute. And then I just got it together and I said no, you’re not going to do this.”

Scripps Health released a statement saying the hospital has not been given permission by the family to discuss the case. However, hospital officials did address procedures and maintain they are following California law.

The statement reads: “When we have a critically ill patient, we provide all the care and services that are appropriate as ordered by the patient’s physicians. The best interests of the patient guide our physicians and caregivers in these circumstances. We recognize that these situations are always extremely difficult and sad for the families involved.

When the patient’s condition indicates that a course of treatment is medically ineffective, then the physician may determine that this treatment should not be provided or should be discontinued. Under such circumstances other effective care is continued.  For example, when life-saving care is discontinued, we still provide comfort care and pain management.

One of the avenues available to the physician in these difficult situations is to seek the counsel of the medical staff’s bioethics committee, to which the physician can present the case for review.  The committee serves in an advisory capacity and may help the providers explore various options available to the patient.  The decision on the patient’s care is ultimately made by the attending physician.”

Family members disagree with the hospital’s decision and said they’re going to do whatever they can to find another option before Monday.

“We’ve all made him the promise we’re going to fight til the end,” said Betsy Macias. “And that’s what we intend to do.”

She said they are searching for another hospital or doctor that will take his case. She also said they’re praying constantly and relying on their faith in God.

“This is the hardest thing we’ve ever had to do,” said Betsy Macias. “For someone else to tell you that they’re going to end the life of your family member that’s not right.”

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