UK Baby Can Have Life-Support Turned Off, Judge Rules Against Parents’ Wishes

Cathy He
By Cathy He
January 29, 2018Worldshare
UK Baby Can Have Life-Support Turned Off, Judge Rules Against Parents’ Wishes
King's College hospital in London on Sep. 26, 2007. (Cate Gillon/Getty Images)

A British judge has ruled that an 11-month-old boy with severe brain damage may have his life-support turned off, against the wishes of his parents.

Doctors of King’s College Hospital, London, wanted to discontinue Isaiah Haastrup’s life-support treatment and provide him only palliative care, arguing that further intensive care treatment was “futile, burdensome, and not in [Isaiah’s] best interests”, reports The Sun.

But Isaiah’s parents, Takesha Thomas and Lanre Haastrup, both 36, wanted the life-support to continue.

On Jan. 29, Justice MacDonald of the High Court said in his ruling: “Examining Isaiah’s best interests from a broad perspective I am satisfied that it is not in his best interests for life-sustaining medical treatment to be continued.

“That, with profound sadness, is my judgment.”

The father told the BBC that he was “disappointed” in the ruling.

“We will be speaking to the lawyers to see what they say,” Haastrup added.

During the hearing, doctors said that Isaiah was in a “low level of consciousness” after suffering “catastrophic” brain damage due to being starved of oxygen at birth.

The baby also could not breathe or move independently, and did not respond to stimulation, the court heard.

However, Thomas told the judge: “When I speak to him he will respond, slowly, by opening one eye.”

She added: “I see a child who is injured. He needs love. He needs care. I have it. I can give it.

“To say it is so poor, it is not worth living, that is not right. It is not their decision to make.”

A spokeswoman for the King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust said the decision was in the child’s interest and based on “overwhelming expert evidence.”

In mid-2017 British baby Charlie Gard became the center of highly publicised legal battle, after his parents fought to take their son to the U.S. to receive experimental treatment.

The doctors argued that such treatment not benefit him and would prolong his suffering.

Charlie suffered an extremely rare genetic condition causing progressive brain damage and muscle weakness. British courts ruled in favor of the doctors to turn off his life-support. Charlie died in late July 2017 shortly after his life support was discontinued.


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