A Bordentown woman alleges that Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia seeks to take her gravely ill son off life support against her wishes, her attorney said after seeking a temporary restraining order against the hospital Thursday.
Areen Chakrabarti, 14, suffered severe smoke inhalation in a fire on April 14, and CHOP physicians have described him as brain-dead, said attorney Christopher Bagnato, who is representing the boy’s family.
The boy’s mother, Rumpa Banerjee, said he has responded to her touch, according to a legal brief filed in Common Pleas Court. She seeks to transfer the boy to another hospital that will keep him on life support, Bagnato said.
CHOP officials have declined to comment.
As Judge Abbe Fletman prepared to hear the case, attorneys for the hospital sought to close the proceedings to the public, citing privacy concerns.
Bagnato replied that his client was willing to waive privacy rights, and offered to produce emails and texts to that effect from the boy’s mother, who was not at the hearing.
Fletman initially seemed receptive to his offer, telling the hospital’s attorneys, “Courts are generally presumed open.”
But after considering the matter further, she said an email was insufficient, and she sealed the proceedings because Bagnato did not have a signed, sworn document.
After the hearing, Banerjee said the judge had postponed making a decision until Friday, meaning that Areen will stay on life support at least until then.
All she wants is to find another hospital that will take her son, she said.
“We wanted time,” Banerjee said.
Areen has special needs and was injured in the fire because he ran upstairs in the confusion instead of fleeing the house, Bagnato said.