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Friday, 14 December 2018

Judge says very sick 11-month-old girl should be allowed to die peacefully

Written by Brian Farmer

A very sick 11-month-old girl who has spent her life in hospital should be allowed to die peacefully, a High Court judge has ruled.

Mr Justice Hayden said doctors could stop providing "futile" life-support treatment to the youngster.

The judge said the little girl had a progressive brain injury plus a very severe progressive lung disease and would not improve.

But he said evidence showed that she was suffering.

He ruled that life-support treatment could stop on Thursday after analysing the girl's case at a hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London.

He said bosses at the Birmingham Women's and Children's NHS Foundation Trust, who have responsibility for the little girl's care, had asked him to rule that she could be allowed to die.

Her parents said they understood what doctors were saying but could not make the decision to let her die and wanted a judge to take that responsibility.

"I have spent 11 months with my daughter - she is very attached to me," the little girl's mother told Mr Justice Hayden.

"I don't want to let her go."

But she added: "I will respect your decision."

Mr Justice Hayden praised the couple's devotion.

"Sadly, it was never possible for her to leave hospital but her parents have been there every day," he said.

"They have worked with the hospital through one medical challenge after another."

The judge told the court: "The primary objective now is that she should die peacefully and with dignity in her parents' arms."

He added: "I have no doubt that the parents' decision is not only correct but a healthy parental instinct. Knowing when to let go of a child is part of the responsibility of being a parent."

The judge said the little girl could not be identified.

Lawyer Faith Salih, who works for law firm Irwin Mitchell and represented the little girl's mother, said after the hearing: "The parents only wanted what is in their child's best interests."

She added: "The court has made a decision and the parents will now spend the last precious moments with their child who they dearly love."

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