Brain Damaged Baby Taken Off Life Support Machine Against Parents' Wishes

07/10/2014 10:44 | Updated 20 May 2015

Brain-damaged 17-month-old boy dies in hospital after judge orders life-support machine be turned off

A judge has ruled that a severely brain damaged 17-month-old boy should be taken off a life support machine despite his parents' objections.

The devout Christian couple told a High Court judge last week that no-one had the 'right' to end their son's life.

But the the judge ruled there was no hope of a 'miracle' and agreed to King's College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust's request that life-support treatment could be withdrawn.

The boy has now died.

Ms Justice Russell was told how the boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, suffered 'catastrophic and irreversible brain injury' after being born prematurely by emergency Caesarean section last year. He also had a chronic lung disease and relied on a ventilator.

The judge described the case as 'unbearable' but ruled that, despite the boy's parents' wishes, there was no hope of recovery and that it would not be in his interests to prolong his condition.

The family's lawyer Yogi Amin, said: "The family are of course devastated to have lost a precious life in their family."

Addressing the judge at a hearing last week, the boy's mother said: "He is still alive - miracles do happen."

She added: "Where there is life I don't think you should get the right to determine whether that should be taken away."

The baby's father told the judge that no-one knew a child better than their parents.

He said: "I spend a lot of time with him, talking to him, I know when he is listening ... We know he is reacting to certain things."

He added: "We have been told that this child is not even our child any more ... I feel it is wrong, very wrong.

Michael Marrinan, the trust's executive medical director, said: "Decisions about what is best for patients in circumstances such as this are always difficult.

"This baby spent his whole life in our intensive care unit and after a long period of assessment by our doctors and independent experts, we determined that he did not have hope of improving.

"We are sorry that we could not reach an agreement with his parents about the best course of action to take.

"We would like to extend our deepest sympathies to his parents for the loss of their son."


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