Skip to comments.(UK) Father and mother at war over their baby's life support
Posted on 10/31/2009 6:41:59 PM PDT by markomalley
Doctors want to take the one-year-old, born with a rare neuromuscular condition, off the ventilator which allows him to breathe. Their application is supported by the child's mother, who is separated from his father.
On Monday, the hospital will take its application to take the boy off life support to the High Court, where lawyers for the father will fight the case.
The one-year-old, known only as Baby RB, was born with congenital myasthenic syndrome, a muscle weakness which severely limits the movement of his limbs and the ability to breathe independently.
Lawyers for the father say the baby's brain is unaffected by the condition, so that he can see, hear and feel and recognises his parents. He is also able to play with toys and enjoy stories and music, they say.
If the hospital's application is successful, it would be the first time that a UK court has, against the will of a parent, determined that life support may be withdrawn or discontinued from a child who is not suffering brain damage.
(Excerpt) Read more at telegraph.co.uk ...
You know we're going that direction under socialized medicine. May God have mercy on that country...and protect ours
Mom > Dad. Is anyone surprised?
Pro-life / moral absolutes ping for your applicable lists...
Both the Mother and separated Father want the child on support but the COURT is over ruling the PARENTS?
This is horrendous!
Coming to America under Obamacare.
It's about scarce resources being hogged up by a child.
His father, in his twenties and who is amicably separated from the mother, believes a simple tracheostomy procedure, which creates an opening in the neck to deliver oxygen to the lungs, would allow Baby RB to be discharged from hospital to be cared for at home.
But the hospital, backed by the child’s mother, says the baby’s quality of life is so low that it would not be in his best interests to save him.
So Mom wants the child dead and Dad is fighting to keep the child alive. How hideous.
Unbelievable. A simple procedure would let him off the machine but the hospital and mother refuse because he would have no quality of life. Tell me what kind of quality of life he will have if he is dead! This mother is sick!
There’s quite a bit of sensationalism in that line. The father will need to convince the court that the baby is actually not suffering from significant brain damage. IF he shows that, and then IF the court also made a ruling which is in total conflict with legal precedent (very unlikely to happen), THEN a really noteworthy legal event will have occurred. At this point, there’s no reason at all to think the court is going to take the unprecedented step of ordering discontinuance of life support for a child with no brain damage against the wishes of one of the child’s parents. Presumably the hospital and medical experts are challenging the father’s assertions about the baby’s cognitive function — they may or may not convince the court that he is misrepresenting the baby’s condition (which he may or may not be doing, either intentionally or out of understandable difficulty in accepting a harsh reality).
Think Terry Shiavo.
Don’t bet the farm on this one. I never believed the Shiavo woman would be denied food and water, but that is how it ended. The mother will be working in concert with the doctors. An odd split, but one the hospital will take to the wall to establish guidelines. I truly hope you are right, as you do write like you are well informed on these issues.
It would be murder to take that baby off the ventilator.
All the evidence showed that Terri had zero cognitive function at the time the court ordered withdrawal of her feeding tube. It’s much less clear that she lacked cognitive function earlier on, when Michael insisting that any attempts at therapy be stopped. I disagreed with the decision, because 1) the only available evidence as to HER wishes was that she was a practicing Catholic, and the simple maintenance of nourishment (which was all she required) is consistent with the Catholic Church’s teaching (if she’d been on a ventilator or other “extreme artifical measures, it would not have been in conflict with Catholic teaching to withdraw that support), and 2) her parents and siblings were offering to care for her at their own expense. Given that, if doctors assessments were accurate, she had no possibility of awareness of suffering, then there was no justification for causing emotional suffering to her parents and siblings by ending her life. I think they were deluding themselves, but it was harmless delusion, as long as Terri actually had no awareness and thus no possibility of a desire to have her life ended.
But this case of the baby is different, in that the father *claims* the baby has *no* brain damage. If in fact he provides clear evidence of this in court, I think it’s virtually certain that the court will not allow the withdrawal of life support at this point. It sounds as if it’s very unlikely that the child will live very long, as the condition sounds incompatible with improvement as he grows, but if the father can actually show there’s no significant brain damage or other lack of cognitive ability, I can’t see a court allowing withdrawal of life support, especially against the father’s wishes.
It’s hard evaluate without all the medical details. Maybe the father is right, but I think what’s more likely is that there’s no evidence of physical brain damage, but that tests for cognitive function are showing significant impairment (and with a prognosis for continuing decline). If that’s the case, it probably is kinder to let the helpless little child go. Being stuck in a hospital on a ventilator with enough awareness to be suffering, but not enough to ever understand why, and no realistic prospect of surviving to a later time when the suffering will be significantly reduced or eliminated, is pretty horrible. Reasonable medical professionals don’t want to be forced to continue inflicting suffering on a non-comprehending patient, unless there’s a realistic chance that the patient will improve and be able to enjoy some quality of life later on. It’s reasonable to assume that, if the patient had the ability to understand the situation and make his/her wishes known, s/he would wish for the suffering to be ended.
” I think they were deluding themselves, but it was harmless delusion, as long as Terri actually had no awareness”
Did you see the video of Terry Shiavo interacting with her parents? There was actually evidence that Terry had ALOT of cognitive function. She was awake, smiling and her mother and attempting to speak. She was being hydrated and fed artifically and that is all. The court wouldnt allow her parents to try to feed her or give her water by mouth. They wouldn’t even allow them to put ice cubes on her lips.
the father should bring up the example of Stephen Hawkins
That video where she sort of appeared to be aware of and responding to her parents was taken several years before the last round of courts order to withdraw her feeding tube. As to the wild tale you linked to, it’s just a wild tale, and with the sketchy Randall Terry as the source. Infants often make noises that could be interpreted as “I waaaaaaa” long before they’re even remotely grasping the idea of verbal communication. And even if she was trying to say “I want” and got no farther, she could just as well have been trying to say “I want to die” as “I want to live”, and couldn’t think of the words because the person coaching her hadn’t supplied the words she wanted.
As I said, I think the court decision was wrong, but not because she had any actual awareness. Given that SHE had no awareness, the awareness that mattered was that of her parents and siblings, who were unnecessarily put through a lot of emotional pain by the decision.
And as I’m fond of reminding people, Michael Schiavo is the ultimate poster child for getting government OUT of the marriage business. His possession of that meaningless piece of government-issued paper was the ONLY reason he was given the authority to make such weighty decisions for her, and have the court endorse his decisions over those of her parents and siblings.
The whole Human Rights framework of the used-to-be Judeo-Christian West, the whole inner structure of several thousand years of moral philosophy, collapses with this.
And --- going another step in a prohibited polemic direction --- it's easy to see why Shari'a Law will prevail in the U.K. Because it has a (perverted) spiritual impetus behind it, while Britain has nothing, a spiritual nullity. And you can't fight something with nothing,
I've read about three or four articles about this case, and this is the first time I've seen that assertion. Where did you get it from?
Is there any evidence that there have been significantly conflicting assessments of the child's mental competence? In any case, that whole line of discussion is beside the point, since even the most severely debilitated and helpless patient retains the full dignity of a human person.
If there’s no one asserting that the baby has significant mental impairment in addition to his severe physical disability, the father wouldn’t be planning to present video footage in court in an attempt to prove his assertion that the baby has “no brain damage” (”the father will submit video footage showing his son playing with his toys and interacting with his parents, who have both been at their son’s side since his birth, living at dedicated family accommodation near the hospital”). If the doctors were saying the same thing, he’d just present a copy of the baby’s medical records. Clearly the medical records say something different that what the father is saying (and/or the videos were taken a long time ago, and aren’t reproducible in the baby’s current condition).
The father is claiming that “he can see, hear and feel and recognises his parents. He is also able to play with toys and enjoy stories and music” and also that “a simple tracheostomy procedure, which creates an opening in the neck to deliver oxygen to the lungs, would allow Baby RB to be discharged from hospital to be cared for at home”. Meanwhile, the mother is backing the hospital, in its request to discontinue life support. I have a tough time believing that a mother of a fully aware one year old who recognizes her and plays with toys when she visits, and who could be cared for at home with just “a simple tracheotomy” is eager to have the child taken off life support — especially when the mother has been sufficiently dedicated to her baby to live in a special hospital-associated family facility for a year, so she can visit her baby regularly.
I think there’s a lot of information missing here, and a very real possibility that the father is just unable to accept the tragic facts. The range of reactions and activities he’s claiming just aren’t consistent with a case of congenital myasthenic syndrome so severe that it already requires a ventilator for survival in infancy. There are various forms, none are curable, and some are invariably progressive, but it’s very unusual for a baby to be unable to go home from the hospital shortly after birth, and people with milder forms often live into adulthood. Many don’t show any symptoms at all until late childhood or adolescence, and it usually starts out with just droopy eyelids.