A Texas father has physically stopped physicians from removing his brain-injured son from life support. Jonathan Michel, a 39-year-old father from Malakoff, Texas, suffered a severe head injury after falling to the ground June 30. He was rushed to East Medical Center in Tyler, Texas, where doctors found that the impact had caused extensive damage to the left side of his brain – he was almost totally paralyzed down the right side of his body.
The doctors told Jonathan’s dad, Wren, to get hold of his wife, Karen, who happened to be on a mission trip to Africa. Medics insisted that decisions had to be made about Jonathan’s long-term care. But before Karen could catch a flight home, Jonathan’s estranged wife showed up and told the medical team that the 39-year-old would not want to be kept alive in his current state.
“‘If I’m ever in such a situation,’” Jacqueline Dalton said her husband had told her in the past, “‘I want to let nature take its course’.” Jacqueline explained to LifeSite News that she had put the question to Jonathan himself, asking him to move his foot if he wished to have “all this stuff [the life-support equipment]” taken off him. She was convinced that at this point, Jonathan moved his left foot.
But Jonathan’s parents vehemently disagreed with the conclusions of their son’s estranged wife, with whom he had not lived for a number of years, adding that his foot spontaneously moves on a frequent basis.
Karen posted a video of her son to Facebook, which clearly displays his high level of responsiveness:
Posted by Karen Michel on Monday, July 16, 2018
Karen told Faithwire that Jonathan’s estranged wife had “not lived a day in his life” for the past three years, adding that she was displaying a “total lack of compassion” toward the entire extended family through her actions.
“Of first and foremost importance is our son’s life, his care, his future; not her thoughts, actions and total lack of compassion towards his parents, sister, son Hunter, aunts, uncle’s and cousins,” Michel told Faithwire. “Sadly, a woman who has not lived a day in his life for the last three years has returned to hurt and rule over his blood family.”
Pastor Mark Lee Dickson, a director a Director with Right To Life of East Texas, is also advocating on behalf of Jonathan and his family.
He told Faithwire that Karen and Wren should be granted full rights of guardianship as they seek to protect their son’s right to life.
“Both Jonathan and his estranged wife, Jackie’s Facebook lists them as single. Jackie’s Facebook does not read Jackie Michel, but it reads Jackie Dalton. In light of the culture in which we live, where no relationship is truly official unless it is “Facebook Official”, I believe this speaks volumes,” said Pastor Dickson of SovereignLOVE Church in Longview, Texas.
“Should Jackie, who was fighting court battles with Jonathan, have the authority to make medical decisions over his life? Absolutely not! Should Jackie, who has been separated from Jonathan for three years, be able to deny life saving surgeries if Jonathan should need it? Absolutely not! Jackie will say that they were in the process of getting back together, but the text messages and Facebook messages between the two tell an entirely different story. Based on the information that I have seen, there is no doubt in my mind that Wren & Karen Michel become the permanent guardians of Jonathan Michel.”
The medical predicament unfolded with a staggering escalation in events that very nearly resulted in Michel’s untimely death. On Monday, and without warning, Wren and Karen were told that Jonathan’s life support was about to be removed. The doctors noted that they would be withdrawing the shunt which was placed to drain fluid from his brain. Theis would result in a build-up of the fluid, pressure on the brain and, eventually, death.
At this point, Wren decided it was time to act on behalf of his son. So, he stepped in and barred the door, refusing doctors entry to Jonathan’s hospital room.
“If you’re going to unplug him, you’ll have to go through me,” Wren Michel told the doctor and nurses as he continued to block the doorway.
The couple was desperate to go before the hospital’s overarching governance in order to appeal for their son’s life.
“We demanded that it go before the Ethics Board,” said Karen. When Wren got before the board at 6pm the next day, the officials completely changed their mind on Jonathan’s prospective treatment.
“They finally called me in to tell me that they were seeing progress,” he told LifeSiteNews, “and as long as they were seeing progress, they were going to continue medical care.”
“The doctors have been great,” Wren added. “They’re doing a wonderful job.”
Despite this, Jonathan’s parents described the horror of being banned from their son’s bedside for several days. According to Jacqueline, this was a decision taken by the hospital, though the parents and their supporters believe Jonathan’s estranged wife was the driving force behind having them barred from the room.
Jacqueline said that Jonathan and herself remain married, as a divorce would not be feasible financially. She noted that she would “love him until the day I die” and insisted that he would vouch for her should he recover well enough to hold a conversation.
“I’m not trying to kill him,” she said. “I tried to do what he asked. If he’s miserable [when he finds himself partly paralyzed], he can blame [his parents].”
“I haven’t done anything wrong, and the hospital knows that,” she said.
Pastor Dickson noted that the parents are being assisted by a “multitude of lawyers” who are “working together to fight for Jonathan’s life.”
Later on Wednesday, Karen said she was “praising God” after Jonathan was reported to be out of emergency surgery:
Jonathan is out of surgery!!I just saw him as he was returned to ICU. I am Praising God in this lobby!! 🙏✝️💞
A GoFundMe campaign has been set up to help the family with medical expenses.
We will keep you posted as this story develops.