I fought to keep my teenager on life support, but doctors took the machine away

I fought to keep my teenager on life support, but doctors took the machine away

  • Angela Kosarue’s daughter has been declared brain dead after an allergic reaction and an asthma attack.
  • Kosarue was devastated when her daughter was taken off life support against Kosarue’s wishes.
  • Here is his story, told to Jane Ridley.

This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Angela Kosarue. It has been edited for length and clarity.

My 17-year-old daughter, Treasure Perry, took a part-time job at a restaurant in June. She wanted to save enough money to get a driver’s license and a car.

She had all these hopes and ambitions for the future. But she was taken to the emergency room on July 23 after suffering an asthma attack and an extreme allergic reaction to shellfish served at the restaurant.

Treasure died on August 12, just weeks before she was to become a senior in high school.

My sweet daughter was taken off life support against my will. Her doctors declared her brain dead on August 2. I had sued to stop them from removing his respirator. I fought so hard to keep her alive. But I lost the battle.

The restaurant was just two blocks from our house in Indianapolis. I was proud when Treasure started working there. She would do anything for anyone. She had seven siblings and helped me with the younger ones. She was pretty much everything you could ask for in a girl.

She had used an albuterol inhaler to treat her asthma since her early teens. We found out she was allergic to shellfish in 2021 when she ate shrimp. Her face swelled up and we took her to the emergency room. She was injected with steroids and cream for her skin. But the reaction was not serious.

Rushed to my daughter’s workplace after she told me she couldn’t breathe

The temperature was 90 degrees when she had the attack in July. I think the heat triggered what happened. The restaurant had just introduced shellfish to the menu, but Treasure hadn’t come into direct contact with it.

She texted me about her breathing issues about half an hour after she started her 12:00 shift. I sent her sister Spirit to the restaurant with her inhaler, and she texted that she felt a little better.

Then, around 4 p.m., she FaceTimed me. She said, “Mom, I can’t breathe.” I called 911 and ran to the restaurant with my older children.

Mom Angela Kosarue stands in the Indiana family home kissing her teenage daughter, Treasure.

Kosarue described Treasure as a kind girl who helped around the house and took care of her younger siblings.

Courtesy of Angela Kosarue

She stopped breathing as soon as she walked through the front door.

His heart had stopped and first responders gave him chest compressions. They retrieved her heart, but she was unresponsive. They took her to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis, where doctors said her brain was swollen. She was placed in an artificial coma and then put on a ventilator.

It was heartbreaking to see her covered in tubes and surrounded by machinery. We prayed and played some of his favorite gospel songs – anything to get a reaction. I stayed there the whole time.

I was certain that Treasure’s condition would improve and she would survive.

Then, on July 31, I had Treasure transferred to Riley Hospital for Children. I thought it would be better for her because it was a children’s hospital. Doctors checked his movements and did a brainstem test on August 2. They said she had no blood flow to her brain and declared her brain dead.

They said I had a few hours to get the family together and say goodbye before they took off his ventilator. I said, “No. My daughter deserves a chance.” I did a lot of research on the internet and read that other patients had made it and were initially in the same medical situation as Treasure.

So I argued that she was not brain dead but in a coma. We found a lawyer and got an extension to keep her on a ventilator.

Meanwhile, she started shaking my hand. She tried to breathe. His pupils reacted to a flashlight. It gave us hope. But the doctors said the reactions were merely reflexive.

Treasure poses as a little girl with one of her younger sisters.

Treasure with one of her younger sisters.

Courtesy of Angela Kosarue

I called over a dozen other hospitals across the United States. I wanted them to take care of Treasure. But they said they couldn’t take her in because she hadn’t had a tracheotomy to help her breathe. Riley Hospital declined to perform the procedure because she was considered clinically dead. We didn’t understand.

It was devastating when the judge refused to extend the deadline. They issued the decision on August 10, and Treasure’s life support system was removed the following day. Before they turned off her machine, I kissed her and said “I love you so much” and “I’m sorry, but I tried. I did everything I could. “

I think of her every minute of the day. It’s hard to accept what happened. I’m talking to lawyers to sue Riley Hospital for wrongful death.

I speak because I want people to know the name of Treasure and its history. I don’t want her to die for nothing and be forgotten. Maybe our story will help someone else.

Editor’s note: Riley Hospital for Children declined to comment when contacted by Insider. The final legal conclusions on Perry’s case are here.

Do you have a powerful story to share with Insider? Please send details to jridley@insider.com.

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