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'Brain dead' man wakes up after father threatened to shoot medics trying to turn off life support

Published 24/12/2015

George Pickering II held off hospital staff and police for three hours with his gun
George Pickering II held off hospital staff and police for three hours with his gun

A "brain dead" man is now in recovery after his father threatened to shoot medics trying to turn off his life support machine.

George Pickering II refused to accept his 27-year-old son, George III, would not recover from a stroke and held off police and hospital staff with a gun for three hours.

Mr Pickering, aged 59, was able to get his son to squeeze his hand on command numerous times during the stand-off.

Doctors at Tomball Regional Medical Centre in Houston, Texas, had ordered a 'terminal wean', a process whereby life support is slowly removed from a comatose patient.

This decision had been made with the agreement of Mr Pickering's ex-wife and other son and an organ donor organisation had also been notified by the hospital.

Speaking of the drama last January, Mr Pickering Sr told KPRC: “They were moving too fast. The hospital, the nurses, the doctors.

"I knew if I had three or four hours that night, I would know whether George was brain dead.

“During that three hours, George squeezed my hand three or four times on command.”

While he has admitted to being drunk and aggressive that night - he said he had experienced a similar situation when George III, who has a history of seizures, recovered.

His son said: “There was a law broken, but it was broken for all the right reasons. I’m here now because of it. It was love, it was love.

"It's the duty of a parent to protect your children and that's all he did.

"The important thing is I'm alive and well, my father is home and we're together again."

Mr Pickering was charged with two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and jailed.

He was released earlier this month after the charges against him were dropped.

Tomball Regional Medical Centre said in a statement: “When a patient’s condition makes them unable to participate in their own care, the appropriate substitute decision-maker has the right to decide whether or not they will move forward with a recommended care plan.

“However, that decision must be expressed in a way that does not endanger other patients or caregivers. Due to strict privacy laws, we are unable to comment about individual patients.”

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