Parents Support Letting Nurse Take Aiden Home; Authorities Resist
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
August 24, 2004
AKRON, OHIO--A registered nurse, with a solid track record of helping children with severe disabilities, has offered to take 10-month-old Aiden Stein into her home.
But county authorities would rather the child stay at the hospital -- where doctors have argued it would be best for him to die.
Bellville resident Janet Roberts has a history of caring for children with disabilities placed with her through Richland County Children Services. She adopted one daughter with severe brain damage and a second daughter who uses trachea and feeding tubes. She has 24-hour nursing care available and is able to operate a ventilator and other equipment during power outages.
"He cannot be executed simply because he is a handicapped child," Roberts told the Mansfield News Journal. "I want people to know that Aiden Stein has a right to live and that he has a chance to live."
Aiden has been in a coma since March 15, from what doctors say is shaken baby syndrome, allegedly caused by his father. The infant will die if his ventilator is removed, doctors predict.
Authorities at Akron Children's Hospital requested he be taken off life support, and said that his parents, Matt Stein and Arica Heimlich, have a conflict of interest in wanting Aiden kept alive, because the father could face criminal charges if he dies.
A guardian appointed to represent Aiden agreed that his ventilator should be removed.
Aiden's parents have challenged the appointment of a guardian for their son, claiming that their parental rights were violated. Neither parent has been charged with a crime in Aiden's injury.
The Ohio Supreme Court is expected to decide on the case soon.
In the meantime, a local court is expected to hear Roberts' request later this week.
Aiden's parents live near the same town as Roberts and want their boy to live with her.
But Richland County Children Services Executive Director Randy Parker said his agency does not support the idea of Roberts taking the baby home.
"We don't feel that a home setting is appropriate for him," Parker said. "He just requires too much medical treatment; it's above and beyond what any single person can handle.
"He's in the process of dying."
An attorney representing the parents said they believe Aiden responds to human stimulation and that he would have a better chance living with people who love him rather than in the hospital where doctors expect him to die.
"New home for Aiden?" (Mansfield News Journal)
"Parties await high court's decision" (Akron Beacon Journal)