Hospice care facility to take back breathing machine from ALS patient

An Atlanta man battling ALS is fighting a hospice care facility to keep machines he needs to live.

Hector Torres has to live his life hooked up to two machines that help keep him alive.

"I'm dying. I'm suffocating, because I can't breathe," Torres said.

He suffers from ALS, a disease that affects nerve cells in his brain and spinal cord.

Torres told Channel 2's Tyisha Fernandes he needs two machines to breath, a ventilator and another to supply oxygen.

Vitas Hospice officials were letting him use the machines in his home, but now that the location is under new management the hospice is taking back one of the machines.

Torres' wife says one of the machines is no good without the other. She says if her husband doesn't have it his blood will be contaminated with carbon monoxide.

Fernandes called Vitas Hospice who later issued a statement that reads:

"They have to meet a criteria of having a life expectancy of less than six months. When a patient no longer meets that criteria, no hospice provider can offer them hospice services."

According to Torres, Vitas Hospice sent a doctor to his house who confirmed that he's not eligible for the machine.

Torres says the doctor didn't even give him a physical exam.

Torres tells Channel 2 Action News he'd rather be euthanized than suffocate to death.

"Unfortunately we don't (allow) euthanization. It would be more decent to die like that," Torres said.