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Baby boy to remain on machine

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COLUMBUS, Ohio — A comatose 7-month-old boy should remain on life support during the legal dispute between his court-appointed guardian and his parents, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled Friday, less than an hour before hospital workers were to remove his breathing machine.

Police suspect Matthew Stein of injuring his son, Aiden, at the family's apartment in March. Stein has denied harming the child and has not been charged. Calls to his cell phone went unanswered Friday.

Aiden has been hospitalized with severe brain damage for nearly three months at Akron Children's Hospital. He is blind, deaf and unaware of his surroundings.

Earlier this week, a state appeals court ruled the boy could be removed from life support despite his parents' objections because they consented to a court-appointed guardian, Ellen Kaforey.

"We're disappointed at the stay but frankly not surprised," said Clair Dickinson, a lawyer representing Kaforey. "We can understand that the justices would want to take a longer look at this before making what could be an irreversible decision."

The justices are considering whether to accept an appeal from Aiden's parents. Attorneys on both sides have 45 days to present arguments on whether the high court should take up the case.

An attorney for the infant's parents praised the decision, saying extra time would help. "That's exactly what we need," said Edward Markovich, who represents Stein and the infant's mother, Arica Heimlich, both 21. "He needs stimulation. He needs growth and care."

Kaforey said Friday that she would not have withdrawn feeding from the boy and that she is thinking of the child's best interests.

She said three medical experts concluded the infant's brain injury was severe and irreversible, "and if the baby was in my family or my child, it's the conclusion I would reach."