Parents unable to agree on treatment of 1-year-old on life support

Brade Gilleland. (Family photo)
Brade Gilleland. (Family photo)

As a 1-year-old boy lies in a metro Atlanta hospital in a vegetative state, his parents are fighting over whether to remove him from life support, family members and attorneys said.

In June, just days after his first birthday, the child was left unattended in a bathtub in Gwinnett County. He was flown to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite, where he has been ever since the June 12 incident.

Gwinnett police officials on Monday would not discuss details of the case or release the incident report.

According to jail records, the child’s mother, 23-year-old Britianie Pace, was arrested on a charge of second-degree child cruelty in connection with the incident. She is out on bond.

Britianie Pace (Credit: Gwinnett County Sheriff's Office)
Britianie Pace (Credit: Gwinnett County Sheriff's Office)

Doctors have told the child’s father, Brade Gilleland, that his son will never wake up.

“The only way to keep him alive is to keep him on machines,” Gilleland said.

He and Pace have been in and out of juvenile court about the child and his 2-year-old sister, who are in the care of the Division of Family and Children Services, according to Gilleland.

“I’d like (the juvenile courts) to address my son’s situation,” he told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “We went to Superior Court about a month ago on a Friday and (Gwinnett Superior Court Judge Kathryn M. Schrader) said she’d have a decision by Monday.”

But Gilleland said he and his lawyer have not heard back.

Pace’s attorney, Angela Kinley, said her client is being denied access to medical records for her son at the same time the hospital is pushing for a decision on treatment.

“I don’t think it’s consistent to deny access to medical records when asking to terminate a child’s life,” Kinley said.

Kinley said Pace’s “position regarding her son's medical treatment ... has nothing to do with anything other than her love and concern for her child.”

Pace’s father, Mike Stieb, told The AJC he is frustrated because the courts will not make a decision about his grandson until his daughter and her ex-husband agree on medical treatment.

He worries his grandson could end up with a medically trained foster family while DFCS and the courts decide what to do.

“It’s a legal hot potato and no one is taking action,” Stieb said. “Doctors have said the global brain damage is irreversible and there will be little to no quality of life.”

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