A Texas pastor who is supporting a family’s bid to keep their son alive after doctors threatened to withdraw his life support has said that the man’s estranged wife has been handed down a medical restraining order, preventing her from ending her husband’s life.
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, Jacqueline Dalton, showed up and told the medical team that the 39-year-old would not want to be kept alive in his current state.
But Mark Dickson, pastor of SovereignLOVE Church in Longview, Texas, told Faithwire that Dalton has now been handed a medical restraining order, effectively preventing her from pulling Jonathan’s life support.
“The estranged wife of Jonathan Michel has been issued a medical restraining order. This medical restraining order prevents Jackie Dalton from denying any life-saving medical intervention needed for Jonathan Michel and prevents her from the pulling of the plug of any device needed to sustain his life,” Dickson explained to Faithwire.
The issue of guardianship will be decided at a court hearing August 8, according to the pastor.
“There is a scheduled court hearing on August 8th in Henderson County for the determination of the guardianship of Jonathan Michel. At this hearing, the Judge will seek to make a decision of what is in the best interest of Jonathan,” Dickson explained.
Pastor Dickson, who is also a director with Right to Life of East, told Faithwire that Jonathan continues to improve following a terrifying episode in which the 39-year-old became septic.
“As of today (July 30th, 2018), Jonathan is showing some improvement after a setback from his first feeding tube surgery being unsuccessful which left him septic,” he said. “He currently has a NG tube pumping the toxins from his body. Today is the first day they have begun using the new feeding tube and we are praying everything will go well. Jonathan is back on CPAP, which means he is breathing on his own with the assistance of his trach. We have a long way to go, but we are in this for the long haul.”
Last week, Dickson explained why he believes Jackie Dalton should be stripped of her guardianship rights over her estranged husband.
“Should Jackie, who was fighting court battles with Jonathan, have the authority to make medical decisions over his life? Absolutely not!” he said. “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!”
He added: “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.”
“‘If I’m ever in such a situation,’” Jacqueline said her husband had told her in the past, “‘I want to let nature take its course.’” Jacqueline told 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 previously 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.”
“On Monday [July 16] Jonathan was awake and aware of his surroundings,” Pastor Mark wrote in a viral Facebook post after the accident. “He held his mom’s phone and tried to turn it on. He also unfastened his niece’s watch and refastened it on her arm. He closes his eyes when his parents pray with him. These are obvious signs of life.”
Then, without warning, the couple 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 to let doctors leave. Effectively, Wren was saying that the medics would have to kill him if they took the decision to end Jonathan’s life.
“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.”
Karen posted a positive update on the condition of her son July 29. “I can’t help but be thankful, grateful and blessed!!” she wrote on Facebook.
“I see and feel that God continues to answer our prayers for Jonathan Michel. I see a difference in his face, he feels better! He’s waking up more, trying to respond to questions ever so slightly, even Dr. Michael agreed he thought Jonathan tried to communicate with him this morning!”
She added: He’s still on a medication and a cooling blanket for his temperature. We’re just waiting to see what God has in store for Jonathan and our family. Trusting God for all these things!! As his mother and father we want to thank every person who’s prayed and continues to pray!”
A GoFundMe campaign has been set up to help the family with medical expenses.
We will keep you posted as this story develops.