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
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.
November 2, 2009
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