DETROIT (ChurchMilitant.com) - A Nov. 7 do-or-die court date looms over the fate of 16-year-old Titus Jermaine Cromer, Jr., a student at University of Detroit High School hospitalized and declared "brain dead."
In the meantime, Titus' family is searching for a surgeon who will insert a tracheostomy tube and feeding tube so Titus can be transferred, allowing more time for his recovery.
Titus, a high school junior, was placed on life support at Beaumont Hospital after an Oct. 17 injury. On arrival at the hospital, Titus was unable to breathe on his own and was given IV hydration and nutrition through a feeding tube.
Beaumont doctors say he is "brain dead," but his family has been pleading for more time to see if he can recover from his injuries — something Beaumont hospital will not provide.
"It is our belief, not by a miracle but based on good science, there's a pathway to recovery for him," the family's lawyer Jim Rasor said in court when Judge Hala Jarbou ordered that the hospital must continue to provide medical care to Titus until Nov. 7.
The Detroit Free Press reported Wednesday that the family has found a long-term rehabilitation center in Farmington that's willing to admit Titus.
But there's a "catch" before Titus can be transferred, Rasor says.
Titus can't be transferred until a surgeon places a tracheostomy tube in his throat and a feeding tube through the wall of his abdomen and into his stomach.
But Beaumont won't allow its doctors to perform those procedures because Titus has already been declared dead, Rasor says.
Negotiations are now underway with the health system to grant permission for an outside doctor to place the tracheostomy tube and feeding tube so Titus can be transferred.
Razor remains hopeful: "It appears that Beaumont may relent and allow a non-Beaumont physician to perform that surgery."
But the lawyer is broadcasting this plea: "I urgently need to get the word out that we need a surgeon who's willing to do this."
Beaumont Health would not confirm that an outside doctor could perform those procedures for Titus. The health system also declined to provide any details about Titus' case or comment even generally on its policies regarding brain death determination and the removal of life support in cases like these.
LaShauna Lowry, Titus' Mom, said she's living "a nightmare."
"He's such a lovable person, very smart. Everyone loves to be around him," Lowry said. "We're fighting for him."
"[Titus] is great, he's destined for greatness," she said, adding that his favorite school subject is history, and that he wants to attend Tuskegee University and eventually become a pilot.
In response to Church Militant's query, Beaumont spokesman Mark Geary reiterated his previous statement:
We continue to abide by the order that was entered by the court last week. We empathize deeply with families in these kinds of very difficult circumstances, but we cannot discuss the particulars of a patient's care without the family's explicit permission. We remain committed to supporting the family in a compassionate, ethical and legally appropriate way.