Family of man on life support says he's not brain-dead, hospital says otherwise

A Phoenix family is fighting for their son's life. They say he's not brain-dead, but the doctors at HonorHealth say otherwise. Today, the family held a protest outside of the hospital with the hope of getting more answers.

26-year-old Ruben Vati was brought to HonorHealth on Sept. 11. The family says he was conscious then, but a few days later, the hospital declared him brain-dead. They just want more time before permanent actions are taken.

Picketers gathered outside HonorHealth John C. Lincoln Medical Center on Wednesday, holding signs. They're friends and family of Ruben.

"He's still living and they want to get his organs, and I don't think it's right," said Daniel Vati, Ruben's brother.

Ruben was admitted for a drug overdose, according to the hospital. Days later, the family says he was declared brain-dead.

"They declared him brain-dead, but we know he's not," said Stela Vati, Ruben's mother. "Because when you talk to him, he's tearing [up]."

Ruben is listed as an organ donor, so the Donor Network of America was ready to claim his organ, but his family said he had second thoughts about options to be a donor.

"I said, 'Why don't you give him a chance, let him breathe first if he doesn't breathe on his own then,'" Stela said.

A judge has issued a temporary restraining order against the Donor Network of American and the hospital from removing Ruben's organs.

HonorHealth issued the following statement:

HonorHealth is required to abide by the court order. The order states HonorHealth is to allow a board-certified neurologist to perform an exam on the patient. HonorHealth granted emergency temporary privileges to a board-certified neurologist identified by the family. As of now, that neurologist has not come to the facility to examine the patient.

The Donor Network of America is suing the family to take possession of Ruben's organs. Because of confidentiality concerns, they cannot comment any futher.