If ever a defensive gun use qualified as a Move of the Week, this is it. An armed father named George Pickering ignored a Houston hospital’s “gun free” zone signs and packed a pistol when visiting his comotose son. When docs at the Tomball Regional Medical Center declared his son brain dead and announced their intentions to pull the plug, the inebriated father drew his pistol on the medical staff. The cops responded. During a four-hour stand-off, his son showed signs of life. The Dad gave up and was arrested. The son recovered, though not fully (as stated in the video). The charges against Mr. Pickering were lessened and the penalty declared time served. I wonder if the same thing would’ve happened in New York? On any level.

44 Responses to Defensive Gun Use of the Day: Drunk Dad Pulls Gun to Stop Docs from Pulling the Plug on his Son

    • and there’s nothing better to cloud your good judgement than emotional distress. just because some one does something “out of love” does NOT mean its automatically justified. this man was in the wrong. no way around that.

  1. I’d like to know more context…Docs can’t just arbitrarily pull the plug of someone on life support. They have to have the consent of the patient’s POA, whoever that party may be. Something is being omitted here.

    • On the internet most people are saying that they wanted his organs, as he was an organ donor. That doesen’t seem to far fetched, as organs are worth more than a pasient.

      • Two items from the very article you linked:

        ” Another lawyer who was representing Dunn, Trey Trainor, says Texas law gives a hospital the right to make life or death decisions without consulting the patient or the patient’s family.”

        And

        “Hospital officials were fighting to stop his treatment and filed for a court to appoint a guardian to make decisions for him. Dunn filed suit but the hospital filed their own lawsuit asking that a guardian be appointed for Dunn. Dunn and his mother, Evelyn Kelly, had been making choices regarding his care.”

        IF *Texas* law allows for executive decision making by hospital staff of when to withdraw care, then that’s something for Texas to figure out. I do find it interesting though: Do people here believe healthcare providers should be forced to provide services for people who can’t pay for them?

        Beyond that, the quote above makes it obvious that the patient and his mother were making the decisions regarding his care. Physicians caring for him may have recommended comfort/palliative care because he was terminal (which seems the case, given that he has died now even with ongoing care) and they knew ongoing treatment would not be comfortable.

        None of these articles are written from an informed position of context. That’s the problem.

        • The point to the article is that the guy was conscious and alert. Taking him off the life support would have killed him.

          Had they done a relatively routine surgery to remove the mass he would have recovered. He did not have insurance but who’s to say he couldn’t have paid once healthy again.

          He was a former deputy sheriff and a DHS employee. It’s not like he was a bum, he might have just been between jobs when he was struck ill which can happen to any of us at any time.

        • It is unlikely surgery to remove the mass would have helped, the young man was on life support due to suffering a major stroke.

  2. The nypd would have started shooting when they got within 2 blocks of the hospital. 18,000 rounds of ammo and 147 ‘collateral damages” later they would have discovered they had missed the armed drunk. At which point they would have arrested the whole hospital cause, you know, drugs.

    Or am i thinking of the Waco police and the ATF?

  3. I saw this. The main theme was “organ harvesting”. Kinda’ like the ghouls at Planned Geno…er parenthood That’s a hero dad-drunk or not.

    • Yeah all planned parenthood did was murdwrong babies, they didn’t off at STD testing to anyone that walked in the door at a reduced rate, they didn’t give disadvantaged girls the pill so they could practice safe sex, they didn’t help educate folks. I bet you are the same dude that wants food stamps cut, you don’t want these girls who can’t afford these kids to get rid of them, but you don’t want to help them later down the line either. You sir or ma’am are ignorant as all get out.

  4. This is a mixed bag. As I understand it, the son was non-responsive and showed no signs of potential recovery. When the dad pulled the gun out, it looked more like a man in denial and perhaps fodder for the GFZ gang. He kept claiming that his son would recover, even in the face of evidence to the contrary.

    Miracle of miracles, the son began to show signs of life. As a result, we consider the father a good user and the GFZ gang stays quiet (except for a bit of clamor that this is what causes doctors to fear making medically sound decisions in the face of grief).

    I’m glad things turned out for the best, and it is a Movie of the Week, but it is essential we not assume that every disagreeable medical decision made by doctors is improper or malicious. If we do, we become atheists in foxholes.

    • There have been instances where the docs are quick to call time of death when they know the patient had an organ donor card.

    • “As I understand it, the son was non-responsive and showed no signs of potential recovery. When the dad pulled the gun out, it looked more like a man in denial “

      The fundamental question here is “Who gets to decide when to pull the plug?”

      The doctors are there to give medical advice..to say, “He has x chance of recovery” based on the experience and observations of the medical community in similar cases.

      But it is not their responsibility or privilege to make that call over and above the family, legal guardians, etc except in some perhaps very exceptional and rare cases.

      Was this one of those rare cases? I don’t know, but I’d be willing to play the odds and say, so long as there is a family member there that does not want the plug pulled, “no.” I’m thinking the better path is to default to ‘save the life’ not destroy it.

      We are walking a dangerous path here. The “right to life” is very much an individual one. Yet, as in so many other arenas of human existence, the “State” (in various guises) is seeking to usurp that right…confusing the issues with “social utility” arguments and the like.

      • The man’s mother (ex-wife of the father) had approved the removal of life support and organ donation. I posted a link above.

        • Yeah, that does not change the point of my post.

          At least one question remains given your “factoid:” Did the mother have sole right to make that decision, even against the wishes of the father?

          But, even that does not really matter given the context of my reply to Katy, which had more to do with when the family (en masse) goes against the wishes of the doctor. The Dr. can say “there’s no hope” and the family can say, “We understand, but don’t pull the plug.”

          Sometimes, it’s just a matter of giving the family time to come to terms with the reality of what the Dr. is telling them. Social utility arguments like organ harvesting does not, and can not, trump the will of free, sovereign individuals.

          A man fills out a harvest donor card implies that his organs CAN be used, not that they MUST be.

          The bottom line is that cases like this are messy with few (if any) bright line rules and easy answers. Trying to distill it down to such is generally agenda driven and not really “thoughtful.”

        • JR:

          I’m not arguing with you. It’s not my “factoid,” just an answer to the question you asked but couldn’t bother to look up yourself. By all means, please continue to enjoy your soapbox.

      • Plus, if the patient and/or family is paying nothing for hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of treatment, and is determined to keep the person on life support forever, damn the cost since we won’t be paying it, there is going to be a way out for the hospital, don’t even kid yourself.

        • Why should the hospital have to shoulder the cost of life support or treatment? If he was uninsured or did not have the cash, he chose his own destiny.

  5. The decision to pull the plug was made by his mother and brother, not the doctors. I wish people would gather all of the facts before jumping to conclusions.

    • When the Castle, Coin & Conscience sees opportunity to increase cash flow to both doctors & hospital, doubtful the doctors were completely honest with the mom & brother.

  6. I’m a icu doctor. Lots of details make a huge difference here. Was the son determined to be brain dead? Did the family assert they wanted a terminal extubation? I do get security on stand-by if I get a gestalt a family member is going to turn violent for the safety of everyone in my unit.

    • Security? I’ve been to a few hospitals and the only security I ever see are unarmed rent-a-cops. How exactly would nancy-no-bullets have helped in this situation?

      • I can tell you that at the hospital I work at currently that man would not have lived long enough to see his son recover. Our security are armed and far from rent-a-cops.

  7. It’s a better highlight of the failures of the medical system and doctors that lead to 400,000+ medical mistake deaths each year. And to think, the AMA is actively working against the second amendment,

  8. This is a tough one. If the son survived even a moment off life support when he wouldn’t have without the standoff, he has a pretty strong case for defense. Of not, Ehh…

    Either way, I’d hate to be on this jury.

  9. When I got diagnosed with cancer I pulled out my Glock and instructed my doctor to take his diagnosis back. He did, and I’m still alive. Obviously Mr Pickering and I have hit upon quite the panacea!

  10. This isn’t an either/or situation, assuming this report is even accurate, meaning that you can’t assume that if this idiot hadn’t pulled a gun his kid would be dead. Maybe he could have used his words like a big boy. As a responsible gun owner I shudder to think anyone is celebrating some drunk who thinks pulling a gun and creating a 4 hour standoff with the SWAT team is the best way to resolve conflict. Its people like this guy who provide ammo (no pun intended) to the people wanting to ban guns.

    • This is the most reasoned response on this entire thread. I have spent several years working in a hospital and My wife has been a nurse for over a decade. If dad was that distraught there is no way they are “pulling the plug” (I hate that term because it has nothing to do with what is actually occurring.) Social work would have come they would have talked and come to a reasoned decision. Pulling a gun was not the answer in this case.

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