The parents of a Florida teenager fighting for her life after being diagnosed with a brain tumor are battling to keep the young woman on life support.
Danielle Zfat, 19, of Coral Springs was admitted to Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital on November 25. On January 1, her condition deteriorated to the point where she needed to be hooked up to life support systems. Two days later, according to legal documents, doctors at the hospital informed Zfat's parents that they planned on removing her from life support.
But the Zfats are Orthodox Jews, who believe in doing everything possible to preserve life.
"Our way to believe as a Jew is that everything goes through the heart," mother Aviva Zfat told WSVN. "As long as the heart beats, the soul is in the heart, and therefore she is alive."
"We just want her to live," said Zfat. "When God decides to take her, then he will take her. She's breathing, she's alive."
Danielle had communicated with doctors that she wanted them to do what they could to keep her alive.
"The doctors of the hospital specifically asked her whether she wanted to fight and continue her life to live. She blinked once for 'yes,'" family attorney Menachem Mayberg told WSVN. Mayberg and another family lawyer, Moshe Rubenstein, have gone to court, filing an emergency motion in a desperate bid to keep Danielle on life support.
"There's no analogy on life that's safe when you're talking about life," Rubenstein told WSVN. "Life is the highest, and it's our duty to move mountains."
Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital released the following statement:
"Our hearts and compassion are with the family at this difficult time. Due to patient confidentiality, we are unable to discuss the medical aspects of this case, except to say that it was not the hospital's intention to remove life support. As an institution that values deeper caring, we do our utmost to respect religious and cultural beliefs."
Aviva Zfat says she would trade places with her daughter if she could.
"Take care of my daughter please," she pleaded. "Give her life. Don't cut her off... please."