December 7, 2015 5:57 pm
Updated: December 8, 2015 4:30 pm

Alberta couple granted more time before doctors may take daughter off life support

WATCH ABOVE: A Calgary judge has ordered a temporary injunction in the case of a Lethbridge family hoping to save her daughter from being taken off life support. Global’s Nancy Hixt reports.


The parents of eight-month-old Hermella Mammo won a temporary injunction Monday to stop doctors from taking their daughter off of life support without their consent this week.

“We are so emotional; we are so happy that we have time and we will recover,” Hermella’s mother, Anna Motsyk, said. “We have one more month and she will do good.”

Hermella was declared brain dead in August, but her parents, Motsyk and Will Mammo, said in September her condition began improving.

“We were told that our daughter is dead on Aug. 17. And then on Sept. 23, we were told that she is alive,” Mammo said. “That is beyond crazy. … And now we are told she is recovering, but it’s not significant enough to get to a meaningful recovery.”

When she was two-and-a-half months old, she was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, called an adrenal cortical tumor.

Hermella’s parents said she was cancer-free following chemotherapy, but in September, doctors discovered a viral infection, which led to her current condition.


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Her parents said they aren’t asking to have Hermella on life support indefinitely, but they want to give her more time to see if she will get better. They said they’ve seen a constant improvement since September.

“Our daughter opens her eyes whenever we talk to her,” Mammo said Monday. “When there is light in the room she opens her eyes…Her fingers, her toes move—all her limbs move. She responds to music, her heart rate rises whenever you talk to her.

“There were multiple examinations that were done that showed that her brainstem has been recovering, and she has regained some of her brainstem functions.”

Mammo and Motsyk have been at her bedside, sleeping at the hospital, since she was admitted to the Alberta Children’s Hospital in August. Mammo said they’ve been living off savings and he left his job.

WATCH: Will Mammo and Anna Motsyk are fighting Alberta Health Services doctors who plan to take their eight-month-old daughter, Hermella, off of life support. The Lethbridge couple spoke to media on Monday.

He said he was shocked last Wednesday, when doctors called to tell them their decision to take her off life support.

“We are not here to keep our daughter on life-support forever. That’s not our wish. But if our daughter is improving, we’re not going to stand back and say, ‘that’s it for her.’”

The Lethbridge parents represented themselves in court.

“We are very grateful for what happened in court today,” Mammo said. “We are able to get some more time in order to see what it can do, and in the meantime, if there’s anybody out there that can give us any pro bono legal advice in this case, we would really, really appreciate it.”

By Tuesday, two Calgary lawyers stepped forward to offer free legal services to the couple. A spokesperson said Mammo and Motsyk would speak to both lawyers and decide who will handle their case.

Alberta Health Services doctors—represented by many lawyers—had planned to terminate life support Thursday.

The judge granted the temporary injunction Monday, and will rule on the case Jan. 4. The do not resuscitate (DNR) order remains in place.

“She has beaten all the odds that have been placed in front of her,” Mammo said.

“How are we supposed to live with ourselves later on knowing that our daughter is recovering and we cut her off life support?”

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