January 29, 2005

NICE TRY, CHARLOTTE

Parents lose court battle over keeping critically ill girl alive (Nicole Martin, The Telegraph, January 29th, 2005)

The parents of a desperately ill baby yesterday lost the latest round in their legal battle to give their daughter the chance to live.

Darren Wyatt, 33, and his wife, Debbie, 23, had gone to the High Court to try to lift an order allowing doctors not to resuscitate 15-month-old Charlotte if she stops breathing.

They argued that her condition had significantly improved since October, when Mr Justice Hedley made the ruling, and asked for it to be temporarily lifted while independent medical experts reassessed the child's chances of survival. The judge granted the Wyatts permission to conduct an investigation into their daughter's condition and ruled that there should be a hearing before Easter to review the new independent medical reports.

But, rejecting their application to lift the order, he said: "The delight at her improvement has to be qualified by the fact that at present I have no evidence to support any proposition that her improvements reflect any change in the underlying condition from which she is suffering.[...]

Citing one of the medical experts, Dr C, he said that Charlotte had "genuinely good days" when she received no sedatives and was taken out of her oxygen box. She responded to stimulation, had limited perception of light and dark and was able to react, to a limited extent, to noise.

"Contrary to the expectation of many of the doctors, Charlotte has survived and her condition appears to be improving," he said. "What's not yet clear is the extent of the change, the reason for the change and the implications of the change. But the appearance of change is not disputed."

We are obviously dealing with a shrewd judge who can see that Charlotte is faking it.


Posted by Peter Burnet at January 29, 2005 10:46 AM
Comments

"the underlying condition from which she is suffering" is, I take it, childhood.

Posted by: pj at January 29, 2005 8:17 AM

Years ago, when I lived in Iowa, we had a case in which a father drowned his 2-year-old in a fish tank.

The boy was brain dead but the defense lawyers, attempted to subvert a murder trial, forced the hospital to keep the body on a ventilator for about a year.

It finally ended when the nurses rebelled because the body was decaying, though still breathing, so far as the court was concerned. They refused to go back into the room.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at January 31, 2005 1:21 AM
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