Dad Speaks Out After Being Jailed for Saving Son’s Life

A father who was released from jail after facing charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon says his actions were committed purely out of love.

George Pickering’s son had a history of seizures when he suffered a massive stroke in January and was put on life support at Tomball Regional Medical Center in Tomball, Tex.. “[Doctors] were saying he was brain dead, he was a vegetable,” Pickering told KPRC. The hospital ordered that Pickering’s son, George Pickering III, be put on a “terminal wean,” which would slowly take him off all life-sustaining machines. They even began preparations for George III’s organ donation.

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But Pickering says his son needed more time. “They were moving too fast. The hospital, the nurses, the doctors,” he said. “I knew if I had three or four hours that night that I would know whether George was brain dead.” The father told KPRC that he’d been through a similar situation with his son before, and that George III had recovered.

George Pickering III, left, is alive and healthy and his father, George Pickering, is out of jail. (Photo: KPRC)

Desperate to save his son, Pickering took out a gun and allegedly threatened hospital staff. He was quickly disarmed by his other son, but Pickering, who admits he was drunk and aggressive, lied and claimed he had a second weapon. “At that point I had blinders on. All I knew I just needed to have this time with George,“ Pickering told KPRC.

For hours, Pickering was in a standoff with SWAT officers, who tried to get the father to surrender. But during that time, Pickering said he got signs that his son had life left in him. “During that three hours, George squeezed my hand three or four times on command,” Pickering said.

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Eventually, Pickering surrendered, and spent 11 months in jail facing two charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Today, George III is alive and healthy, and Pickering was released this month with one charge dismissed and the other reduced. The father was given credit for time served. “There was a law broken, but it was broken for all the right reasons. I’m here now because of it,” George III told KPRC. “It was love.”

Tomball Regional Medical Center provided a statement to KPRC: “Physicians use their medical knowledge and experience to develop a patient’s plan of care and these actions save lives each day. When a patient’s condition makes them unable to participate in their own care, the appropriate substitute decision-maker has the right to decide whether or not they will move forward with a recommended care plan. However, that decision must be expressed in a way that does not endanger other patients or caregivers.“

Phoebe Smith, Pickering’s attorney, said justice was served. “This case has always been about a father protecting his son, when his son couldn’t protect himself,” she told KPRC.

George III agrees. “It’s the duty of a parent to protect your children and that’s all he did,“ said Pickering’s son. "Everything good that made me a man is because of that man.”

(Top photo: KPRC)

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