Father taken off life support after fight with COVID-19; family says he needed more time

The family was asking the hospital for more time

HOUSTON – A few months ago, Enrique “Ricky” Garza was full of life, creativity, starring in his own music video, and best of all, he was a new dad.

In April, he got COVID-19. His mother said he wasn’t vaccinated and got very sick quickly. He was hospitalized and placed on ECMO.

Being placed on ECMO means Garza was very sick, and the medical experts at HCA Healthcare Houston Medical Center didn’t think he would survive.

To his family, that means giving up, which they were not willing to do. The family contacted KPRC 2 when they were told the hospital wanted to take Garza off the machine.

“All I’m asking for is time. Please help me fight for my son because he hasn’t given up, and every day I go in there and visit my son, he tells me that he wants to live. My son wants to live,” Garza’s mother, Lianna Guerrero, said.

The family claims Garza has developed infections in the hospital, so they wanted more time to treat the infection.

“Every little good peak after they said he couldn’t do good, he continued and they gave us another 10 days. Now, he has a bad peak and they want to cut off his machines. Why?” Guerrero asked.

She said he’s made improvements before, and he’s even been able to respond to them by squeezing their hand.

HCA Healthcare declined to speak on camera to answer questions about this case.

Instead, here’s the written response HCA provided to KPRC:

“At HCA Houston Healthcare Medical Center, we are committed to maintaining the privacy and confidentiality of our patients, and as a practice, we do not comment on specific cases.

It is always difficult for loved ones and caregivers facing end-of-life decisions, and our hearts go out to the family during this very emotional time. In end-of-life situations, we follow a rigorous process to determine whether withdrawal of care is warranted. This process involves our Ethics Committee,  and a multi-disciplinary team of clinicians and other leaders not previously associated with the care of the patient, and includes multiple meetings with the family and care team to discuss the patient’s prognosis. In accordance with Texas Law, our care team will also assist the family with care options outside of our facility, if an accepting facility is identified.

We understand these are extremely difficult decisions and we sympathize with the family. We are here to support our patients and their families throughout the process.”