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Six-month-old baby girl dies after justice allows hospital to withdraw “life-sustaining treatment”

by | Sep 8, 2016

By Dave Andrusko

London's High Court

London’s High Court

A seriously ill baby girl has died after a judge in Nottingham, England authorized the hospital to “move the baby to a palliative care regime,” the Nottingham Post has reported.

Justice Keehan of London’s High Court overruled the objections of the Nottingham City Council which disagreed with Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust that it was in the six-month-old child’s “best interest “to “withdraw her current life-sustaining treatment and to move her to a palliative regime,” to quote from Justice Keehan’s decision rendered August 25. This followed a two-day hearing in the Family Division.

The baby died August 31, according to reporter Jade Beecroft.

None of the news stories were specific about what “treatment” was withdrawn or what the “palliative regime” consisted of.

The hospital painted a uniformly negative portrait of the little girl, who, like her parents, was not identified, per Justice Keehan’s gag order. According to Beecroft, she reportedly suffered brain damage when she was born 14 weeks premature.

Specialists said she had a “complex pattern” of medical problems and would have no meaningful sight, would not be able to communicate, would have no significant voluntary muscle movement and would not be able to feed herself or enjoy food.

They said she was likely to need long-term respiratory support or ventilation, a tracheostomy and a feeding tube.

Justice Keehan

Justice Keehan

The Nottingham City Council, which had been responsible for her care, thought otherwise, Beecroft reported.

But lawyers for the city council said bosses did not agree that the burden of treatment outweighed the likely benefit.

“The local authority believes it is far too early to conclude that she will not be able to derive benefit from continued life,” barrister Lawrence Messling, who led the council’s legal team, told Mr. Justice Keehan.

“It has experience of other children who have confounded that initial very bleak prognosis.”

He added: “The local authority would wish if possible for (the little girl) to undergo… surgical procedures and then to be placed with (a) foster carer.”

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Categories: Palliative Care