Family of teen on life support fight to keep her alive
HOLLYWOOD, Fla. (WSVN) -- A teen's health took a turn for the worse and has left her on life support. Now her relatives are trying to honor her wishes.
"Our way to believe as a Jew," said the victim's mother, Aviva Zfat, "is that everything goes through the heart. As long as the heart beats, the soul is in the heart, and therefore she is alive."
Outside Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital, Aviva Zfat embraced her husband, Ruben. Inside the hospital, is their 19-year-old daughter, Danielle. Fourteen months ago, Danielle, who grew up in Coral Springs, was diagnosed with a brain tumor.
On Nov. 25, she was admitted to the hospital. On Jan. 1t ,her condition worsened and she was placed on life support. "We just want her to live," said Zfat in tears. "When God decides to take her, then he will take her. She's breathing, she's alive. She's up there alive, breathing. Take care of my daughter please. Give her life. Don't cut her off. Anybody can share any support. Please."
Danielle and her family are Orthodox Jews. Their belief prohibits pulling the plug once life sustaining devices are in place. The family's attorney has filed an emergency motion in court. In that motion, in reads in part, "As of Jan. 3, 2013, the physicians at the hospital have indicated that they will be removing all medical systems which support her life."
"There's no analogy on life that's safe when you're talking about life," said family attorney, Moshe Rubenstein. "Life is the highest, and it's our duty to move mountains. In fact, to give our own life to save a life." The other family attorney, Manachem Mayberg added, "The doctors of the hospital specifically asked her whether she wanted to fight and continue her life to live. She blinked once for 'yes.'"
Late Wednesday, the hospital released a notice saying, "Our hearts and compassion are with the family at this difficult time. Due to patient confidentiality, we are unable to discuss the medical aspects of this case, except to say that it was not the hospital's intention to remove life support. As an institution that values deeper caring, we do our utmost to respect religious and cultural beliefs."
"If I can take her place," said Zfat, "I'll do it. I'll switch places. I'm older. I've done enough for me. She can have my time."
Just 15 months ago, Danielle was a healthy teenager on her way to college in New York. On a November morning she woke up with numbness on one side of her body, and her life has been changed ever since.
The Zfat family is full of faith and believes there will be a resolution.
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