A family in Texas is fighting for their daughter’s life. According to an article published by CNN, 9-year old Payton Summon was recently declared brain dead due to having a heart attack. Unfortunately, Cook Children’s Medical Center in Ford Worth told Payton’s family that the heart attack was caused by a growing tumor in her chest. According to the Texas law, once the patient is declared brain dead, the hospital must wait another 12 hours to do another test to confirm that a patient is brain dead. Unfortunately, 12 hours passed and Payton was officially declared brain dead. Usually, the hospital would take Payton off life support, but not in this case. The family received a 14 day temporarily restraining order against Cook Children’s Medical Center so they can move Payton to another hospital so she can stay on life support.
This behavior is not unusually; this can be explained by the term illusion of control. Illusion of control is the perception that a person is able to have more influence on the outcome(s) of a situation than they actually can. This behavior is seen in the parents of Payton because they believe they can change the fact that their daughter is brain dead by transferring her to another hospital. “’Payton never gave up on anything, and I know in this situation, she wouldn’t give up either…’” (Howard, 2018). This further shows that Payton’s mom, Tiffany Hofstetter, believes that she has control over this situation due to the belief that her daughter is a fighter. Hofstetter believes that her daughter has a fighting chance, despite the doctors telling her that her daughter is brain dead. Payton is on a ventilator, which is the only reason that Payton is technically alive. However, since the parents are seeing that Payton is breathing, despite seeing that she is on life support, so they believe that Payton is not brain dead. Thus, illusion of control is seen because the family of Payton believes that they can change the outcome of this tragic event.
In addition, it might be odd to see a family to request a temporary restraining order against a hospital that has done nothing wrong. However, in the eyes of the family, the hospital is taking away Payton’s only fighting chance to surviving. The parents believe that Payton is not brain dead; which, is the reason why they want to move her to another hospitals care. In social psychology, this behavior is called confirmation bias. Confirmation bias is when people look at other resources to confirm their beliefs, despite what other resources are telling them. For instance, Cooks Children’s Medical Center is telling the parents of Payton that their daughter is brain dead. However, the parents refuse to believe the hospital, which is why they are trying to transfer her to another hospital. The parents are hoping that another hospital will tell them different news about their daughter. They believe that Children’s Medical Center is acting too fast and that there might be a chance that their daughter is alive, despite the test on her brain activity done on their daughter. The parents are hoping to get different answers, which probably will not happen.
Howard, Jacqueline, and Tina Burnside. “Family Fights to Keep 9-Year-Old Girl on Life Support.” CNN, Cable News Network, 5 Oct. 2018, www.cnn.com/2018/10/03/health/brain-dead-payton-summons-hospital-bn/index.html.