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Family buries Waco baby after disconnecting life support

Monday, September 8, 2003

WACO, Texas (AP) - After a year of being connected to breathing machines despite doctors' assertions that he was essentially brain dead, a baby has died after being disconnected from life support.

About 20 family members and friends gathered Saturday at the Waco Memorial Mausoleum to say goodbye to Telvin Jackson, who died Sept. 2 at Children's Medical Center in Dallas. His father, Melvin Washington, authorized doctors to remove the ventilator and not to resuscitate the baby.

Telvin Denzel Washington-Jackson was born Aug. 30, 2002, in the back seat of a car in Waco. He was not breathing for the first 30 minutes of his life. At the hospital, doctors started his heart beating and put him on ventilators.

Though Telvin at first did not meet the criteria for brain death, doctors have said his brain had significantly deteriorated at least eight months ago and his condition was irreversible.

The baby's mother, Mary Jackson, steadfastly opposed urgings from doctors, Child Protective Services workers, hospital ethics committees, judges and lawyers to disconnect the machines.

Jackson, who has been serving a jail sentence in Limestone County for violating probation by writing fraudulent checks, did not attend the funeral.

Earlier she had said jail officials had given her permission to attend. Limestone County Sheriff Dennis Wilson said he had no comment about why she was not at the service.

Washington said he decided to tell doctors to disconnect life support equipment because he realized his son's condition was worsening without hope of improvement.

"Now the pain and suffering is over," he said. "I walked the floor all night the night before, thinking about this. I prayed on it."

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