Father fights hospital, mother, to keep son on life support



London, England - A man in Great Britain is fighting to keep his 12 month old son on life support, while the boy's mother and the hospital are arguing that his rare neuro-muscular condition does not leave him with a sufficient quality of life to warrant continued treatment.

If the high court rules in favor of the mother and hospital, it would be the first time that a U.K. court has ruled against the will of a parent and determined that life support can be removed from a child who does not have any brain damage.

The child, who is only known as “Baby RB,” has been in the hospital since birth. He is currently on a ventilator, though his father argues that a tracheotomy would allow the child to breathe independently, and thus be cared for at home.

The father, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is planning on submitting videos to the court that demonstrate that Baby RB's brain is unaffected, as he can see, hear, feel, and recognize his parents. He is also able to play with some toys and and enjoy stories and music.

Anthony Fairweather, a lawyer for the child's mother, told Sky News that “RB's mother has sat by her son's bedside every day since he was born.  In her mind the intolerable suffering experienced by her son must outweigh her own personal grief should she lose her child." Doctors say that the child's quality of life is so poor that keeping him alive is not in his own best interest.

This is not the first time that the life of a child has been determined by the British courts, though a General Medical Council survey found that 80 percent of parents don't think that courts should be allowed to decide whether or not a child should be kept alive. A spokeswoman for The British Medical Association told The Guardian that though such cases are disturbing, they must be resolved in the courts when the parents and doctors don't agree on the best treatment for the child.

Source: CNA
Publish Date: November 2, 2009
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