New Jersey boy whose family had fought to keep him on life-support dies on Saturday

By Dave Andrusko

Jayden Auyeung with his mother Anna

On May 23, NRL News Today wrote about two New Jersey families who were fighting to keep their sons on life-support, cases which bore a striking resemblance to Alfie Evans.

Both were gamely fighting against Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia [CHOP] which was determined to take the boys on their ventilators on the grounds that they were both brain-dead, diagnoses which the families vigorously disputed.

Last month Jayden Auyeung’s family obtained a temporary restraining order in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court to prevent CHOP from removing him from his ventilator. Tragically, however, over the weekend the family lawyer issued a statement, reported by the Philadelphia Inquirer, that 10-year-old Jayden had died.

According to Michael Boren

“We do not know the exact cause of death as of yet. It is too early to tell,” Christopher Bagnato wrote in a statement Saturday. “But we do know that Jayden’s life support was not removed from him. The court’s stay preventing removal was still in place. God bless him and his family during this very difficult time.”

Both Jayden and 14 year old Areen Chakrabarti are from New Jersey. The Garden State has a law that “provides a religious exception to families whose loved ones are declared brain dead, but whose heart and blood continue to pump through life support machines,” reported WTXF.

Boren’s updated story included the background to both cases. Jayden suffered from a genetic neuron disease. His mother told Boren that their son “couldn’t breathe after a mucus plug developed in his throat while he was at home.”

The son was initially taken to Robert Wood Johnson Hospital in New Brunswick, N.J., where he was placed on life support. But just two days later he was transferred to CHOP, where he had been treated for years.

Areen Chakrabarti has been at CHOP just since April 14 when he suffered severe brain damage from smoke inhalation when his home caught fire. “In April, a judge ruled that CHOP must keep Areen on life support, pending additional hearings or at least until he can be transferred to another hospital,” Boren reported.

In a previous story Tom Avril explained that each time his mom, Rumpa Banerjee, asked any of five New Jersey hospitals to admit Areen, she has been told “that first they need to speak to officials at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.”

Avril adds, “And then, nothing.” In the meantime

Banerjee and her sister, Tumpa, have maintained a near-constant vigil at the boy’s bedside, where he is connected to a ventilator and intravenous fluids. She said the boy’s systolic blood pressure rises as high as 160 when she does not speak for an extended period of time, then falls to the more normal level of 130 when she resumes speaking.

“He is trying to respond,” she said.