Hospital, Jewish Family Dispute End of Life

A Washington, D.C. hospital is suing for the right to remove a 12-year-old Orthodox Jewish boy from life support.

The National Children’s Medical Center says Motl Brody of Brooklyn, who was diagnosed with a severe form of brain cancer, is brain dead. But his parents, Eluzer and Miriam Brody, are objecting because they say someone whose brain activity has ceased is not considered dead under Jewish law. Brody still has circulatory and respiratory function, with mechanical and other assistance, according to the Washington Post.

The hospital says in court filings that “scarce resources are being used for the preservation of a dead body” and treating him is “offensive to good medical ethics.” Doctors had removed Brody from a ventilator and he made no respiratory efforts.

Yitzchak Halberstam, the boy’s uncle, told the Post, “We all want him to live his natural life and not have it terminated prematurely.”

A hearing is scheduled for Monday in D.C. Superior Court.

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