Intense standoff between father and hospital staff ends in miracle for 'vegetable' son

Kamilia Palu

An intense standoff between a gun-toting father and hospital staff who were about to turn off his son’s life support ended in a miracle when George Pickering’s son squeezed his hand.

The dramatic event unfolded like the scene of a movie in the Tomball Regional Medical Centre in Texas in January.

After a history of seizures, Mr Pickering’s son George III, 27, had been admitted to hospital when he suffered a life-threatening stroke.

George Pickering III was admitted to hospital after suffering a stroke. Photo: KPRC

"They were saying he was brain dead, he was a vegetable," said his father.

Hospital staff told police they were concerned about Mr Pickering’s behaviour earlier in the day when he arrived at the hospital highly intoxicated, reports KPRC.

The decision making was left to his ex-wife and second son, who agreed with hospital staff that the best option was to put George III on a ‘terminal wean’ – gradually taking him off life support until he died.

Police footage shows hospital staff recalling the incident. Photo: KPRC

An organ donation organisation was even notified of George III’s planned passing.

"They were moving too fast. The hospital, the nurses, the doctors," said Mr Pickering.

"I knew if I had three or four hours that night that I would know whether George was brain dead.”

Mr Pickering admitted to drunk and disorderly behavior but stood by his erratic actions saying he knew it wasn’t his son’s time to go.

"At that point I had blinders on. All I knew I just needed to have this time with George," said Pickering.

George Pickering II with his son George III in hospital. Photo: KPRC

When his son squeezed his hand, it proved to medical staff that there was still function in his brain.

"During that three hours, George squeezed my hand three or four times on command," Pickering told KPRC.

George III has since made a full recovery thanks to the defensive actions of his father.

Mr Pickering was charged with two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and jailed following the incident.

He was released from jail this month after the charges laid against him were dropped.

Mr Pickering says the love for his son drove his erratic decision. Photo: KPRC

"There was a law broken, but it was broken for all the right reasons. I'm here now because of it," said George III.

"It was love, it was love.”

The father and son duo are happy to be reunited again.

"The important thing is I'm alive and well, my father is home and we're together again," said George III.

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