Teen taken off life support after second test determined no brain activity

A teen who was declared brain dead after an asthma attack last month has been taken off life support. 

The family of 14-year-old Bobby Reyes hit a devastating road block earlier in the day Tuesday when a court hearing to prolong his care while they searched to secure an alternative hospital was dismissed because paperwork was filed in the wrong court. 

Bobby Reyes

The family's attorney said he'd work as quickly as possible to re-file the paperwork, but the family gathered just a couple hours later to take Bobby off life support. Michigan Medicine said in a statement a second brain examination was conducted earlier that day and that Bobby was pronounced dead. Life support was then discontinued after the family was able to gather at the hospital. 

Bobby's family had been fighting to keep him on life support after doctors at Mott Children's Hospital in Ann Arbor said he wouldn't recover.

Doctors said tests showed "Bobby has no brain activity, no brain stem activity, no electrical activity or blood flow to Bobby's brain" and that continuing medical intervention would be "inappropriate."

However, that conclusion was unsatisfactory for Bobby's mother, Sarah Jones. The family's attorney had also said Tuesday in court that they had second opinions from other doctors that Bobby did still have functions and wasn't brain dead. 

Mott Children's Hospital said they were willing to transfer Bobby if another facility was found. In early October, Bobby's family thought they had found a hospital in Arizona that would take him. However, that deal fell through.

The story of Bobby Reyes has taken on an almost unreal degree of media coverage, captivating supporters from around the country. The struggle has even reached the ears of another Bobby, Bobby Schindler, the brother of Terri Schiavo, who died in 2005 after her family's fight to keep her alive became an international story.

Michigan Medical said they extend their deepest condolences to the family in this heartbreaking situation. 

"Our health care team at Michigan Medicine extends our deepest condolences to the family of Bobby Reyes in this heartbreaking situation."

— Michigan Medicine

The statement continued: 

"The brain death examination showed Bobby had no detectable brain or brain stem function. Further testing -- including an electrical encephalogram (EEG) and a cerebral blood flow study -- detected no electrical activity and no blood flow to Bobby’s brain.

By law in Michigan, an individual is dead who has sustained either irreversible cessation of circulatory and respiratory functions or irreversible cessation of all function of the entire brain, including the brain stem.

Continuing medical interventions was inappropriate after Bobby had suffered brain death and violates the professional integrity of Michigan Medicine’s clinicians.

His caregivers at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital have diligently worked with the family to help arrange to transfer Bobby to another facility, contacting more than 20 different facilities. Every facility contacted declined to take on Bobby’s care.

Our team at Michigan Medicine sympathizes with the Reyes family and is committed to providing support in this difficult time.

His caregivers at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital have diligently worked with the family to help arrange to transfer Bobby to another facility, contacting more than 20 different facilities. Every facility contacted declined to take on Bobby’s care."