By the time Cole Hartman arrived at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, he was in grave condition. The 8-year-old had gone into cardiac arrest after nearly drowning in a washing machine at his Castaic home. Paramedics had gotten his heart beating again, but he remained in a coma and on a ventilator.
Physicians at UCLA’s pediatric intensive care unit told Cole’s family that the child was not brain-dead but “would never recover normal neuro function and … could never awaken,” according to an entry in his medical chart.
The Hartmans decided to take Cole off life support and donate his organs. He was removed from the ventilator and, 23 minutes later with his family at his bedside, pronounced dead by an anesthesiologist.
The seemingly peaceful death four years ago is now the subject of an investigation by Los Angeles police and the district attorney’s office. Homicide detectives are looking into an allegation by a coroner’s investigator that the anesthesiologist gave Cole a fatal dose of the opioid fentanyl to hasten his death and increase the likelihood his organs could be harvested. No charges have been brought.
Read the full story on LATimes.com.