Baby stays on life support, transferred to another hospital outside of Oakland

A child on life support has been transferred to Stanford Children's Health- Lucille Packard Children's Hospital KTVU has learned.  

6-month-old Kingston Holmes was initially at Benioff Children's Hospital in Oakland and was at risk of having life support pulled, but after requesting more time, the boy's family from Fairfield became relieved to learn that staff at the Oakland hospital would not remove their son from life support as anticipated.

Holmes' parents said doctors from UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland gave them word on Monday morning they would not take the infant off life support. The family had pleaded for more time to get a second opinion and look at other options.

The boy’s mother, Cresha Batte, said doctors told her the boy would be removed from a ventilator on Monday afternoon. It was a decision Batte and the boy’s father, Pete Holmes, disagreed with. 

“He is not critically brain dead,” Batte said. “He still has brain function.”

Following the news, family and friends of the boy gathered outside the hospital to hold a rally in support of the boy.

“We are going to work diligently to get him to another facility so that we can receive the best care for our son and that is just our main goal right now,” Batte said.

Kingston has been on a ventilator since August 5 after he went into cardiac arrest and stopped breathing at the family’s home in Fairfield. Mom said doctors suggested the infant be taken off life support a month ago, but she refused. She said doctors returned with the same proposal last week, but in a more forceful way. The family said the boy did not have any prior medical conditions.

Batte and Holmes said they have seen their son wiggle his toes and move his feet and hands. They believe he needs more time to improve.

“Everyday I see my son make improvements my prayers are answered,” Holmes said. “I'm just waiting on Kingston to prove them wrong.”

A spokeswoman for UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland released the following statement:

UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland greatly empathizes with the family of Kingston Holmes. We are dedicated to saving and protecting the lives of the children for whom we care. The prospect of losing a child is one of the most difficult situations a family can face and is deeply upsetting to our clinical teams who work tirelessly to provide the best care for patients in dire situations.

Due to patient privacy laws, we are not able to comment regarding the infant’s specific situation, other than to say that there will be no action today in removing life support. As in all situations in our hospital, the decision to limit or withdraw life support is not taken lightly. From the time a patient enters the hospital, our clinical teams work with families to discuss the patient’s care planning, prognosis, chance of survival, and opportunity for second opinions and transfer to another hospital.

At the same time, every effort is made to allow the family time to grieve, while still recognizing that certain patients are, unfortunately, sent to us in such grave condition that they will not benefit from additional care.

As part of this process, UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals seeks additional medical opinions on the patient’s situation and prognosis from outside physicians who are not involved in the patient’s care. Our clinical team also assists the family with names and contact information for qualified outside experts if the family would prefer to contact them independently. In situations in which the patient is able to be transferred, the clinical team contacts outside medical centers to identify hospitals that could accommodate the patient’s medical needs.

While we are not able to provide further details, our hearts are with the family in this difficult time.

This isn’t the first time the hospital has been in the public eye on a decision over whether to remove a child from life support. You may remember Jahi McMath was declared brain dead by doctors in 2013, but her family chose to transfer her care out of state and said she died in June 2018. 

Kingston’s family wants to give the boy the same fighting chance.

“This is one of the most devastating things I've been through and there's a lot of mixed emotions going on right now,” Batte added.

It is unclear how much time the family has been given by the hospital or where the boy may be transferred to. The family said it will look at their options and would not comment on whether they plan to seek legal action.