The parents of Hiram Lawrence, the one-year old critically wounded in a West Oakland shooting last week, said Wednesday that their comatose son is “still fighting,” and pleaded for more time to see whether he might regain consciousness.
Hiram’s mother, Brittany Houston, told reporters in front of Children’s Hospital that although her son was conscious when he was rushed to Children’s by car, doctors immediately told her that he wasn’t going to live. Then, she said, they told her he would not make it out of surgery.
Children’s Hospital representatives did not attend the press conference. Hospital spokesperson Erin Goldsmith says officials have not been authorized to talk about Hiram’s situation.
Hiram is now in an induced coma, according to Houston, and receiving support from a breathing machine. But she said the machine is on the lowest setting, and that Hiram is doing most of the breathing. He has also moved one of his hands since the surgery, she said, and has showed functioning bowel action.
In a press conference given three days after the Nov. 29 shooting, Houston said the family was seeking advice from an attorney because they were having problems communicating with doctors about his care. Today, the family pleaded for more time.
“He fought all the way here in a car, not in an ambulance, crying for mom and dad,” said Houston, who added that she was irritated that doctors had already spoke to her about donating her son’s organs. “He is still fighting.”
She said the family is waiting to hear outside opinions from other doctors, to see whether it is necessary to transfer her son to another hospital.
Pastor Rosevelt Taylor of Tower, of Faith Ministries in Oakland, said at the press conference that hospital staff members wants to administer two additional tests to observe Hiram’s brain activity. If the tests are conducted and the results are negative, Taylor said, the parents fear they will lose their say, and that the hospital will choose to end life support despite their wishes.
“The family doesn’t want to play Russian roulette,” he said. “You have us up against a clock. We need time.”
Houston said believes the hospital is not giving her son enough time before deciding that nothing else can be done.
“I just think he needs more time to recover,” Houston said. “How do you doubt a one- year old in a week?”
After the press conference, and in tears, Hiram Lawrence Sr. spoke with Oakland North. Lawrence said he was holding his son when the bullet passed through his hand and entered his son’s head.
Both he and Houston declined to answer any questions about the shooting, which injured six others besides their son. They also said they would not respond to a newspaper report this morning, by San Francisco Chronicle reporters Phillip Matier and Andrew Ross, that members of the wounded toddler had accidentally encountered some of the shooting suspects in a Children’s Hospital hallway, and that a fight had broken out.
Lawrence said he is a peacemaker, not a gang member. “It’s too much,” Lawrence said. “I’ve lost a lot of lives, but nothing like this. My son didn’t deserve that.”