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Baby Dies Before Being Removed From Life Support

August 12, 1993

FLINT, Mich. (AP) _ A brain-damaged 2-month-old boy whose parents waged an unsuccessful court battle to keep him on life support died Thursday while still attached to a ventilator, authorities said.

A Genesee County Circuit judge ruled Wednesday that the baby’s parents, Rosetta Christle and Terry Achtabowski, could not block his court-appointed guardian from having his life support disconnected.

The state Department of Social Services took the baby’s parents to court last month over their refusal to let the child, Terry Jr., die.

A probate judge ruled that Christle, 21, and Achtabowski, 22, were incompetent to decide what was best for their son. Guardianship was given to his great-aunt, Catherine Knight, who has custody of Christle’s two other children.

Knight had agreed to follow doctors’ recommendations that he be allowed to die, said her attorney, Lynne Taft.

Doctors had said the baby would probably have died within 24 hours of being off the ventilator, Taft said.

Terry was born four months’ prematurely and weighed 2 pounds, 7 ounces. He had blood on his brain and received morphine every six hours to relieve his pain.

Dr. Robert Villegas, who was treating Terry, said the baby’s lungs had deteriorated and his intestines had ruptured.

A 12-member Bioethics Committee at Hurley Medical Center decided Terry had no chance of survivial and said it would be ethical to discontinue Terry’s life support, Villegas said.

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