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Couples distress at baby ruling

#1
Not having children myself I cannot imagine what the parents are going thru but I'm angry that a compromise could'nt be reached between all parties over this.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7956450.stm

The parents of a seriously ill baby have said they are "deeply distressed" by a court ruling allowing him to die.

They said they planned to "enjoy what little time" they had left with their "beautiful and beloved boy".

He has a rare metabolic disorder and has suffered brain damage and major respiratory failure.

The parents failed to overturn an earlier ruling and it is understood doctors will stop treating the nine-month-old within 24 hours.

"Belief in his humanity" was the reason they had fought the medical advice that he should be allowed to die, they said.

'Life is worthwhile'

Two appeal judges have upheld a High Court ruling which gives doctors at an unnamed NHS trust powers to turn off the ventilator keeping "baby OT" alive.

There is no further avenue of appeal for the parents.

The couple had sought to appeal against a judge's ruling on Thursday that it was in the boy's best interests to withdraw his "life sustaining treatment".


There comes a point towards the end of our life when treatment becomes futile
Peter Smith
Catholic Archbishop of Cardiff

In a statement, they said they knew of only one other child with their son's condition and everyone was in "unknown territory".

"We are and always will be convinced that despite his desperate problems his life is worthwhile and is worth preserving as long as it is possible to do so without causing him undue pain.

"That was the real argument between us and the doctors - they think his life is intolerable and that his disability is such that his life has little purpose; but we, along with some of the nurses, believed that he experiences pleasure and that he has long periods where he was relaxed and pain free.

'Deepest sympathy'

"Our belief in his humanity and inherent worth justified us taking every step to support him."

"Despite all the problems and creeping mistrust" between them and the medical team, the couple said they "remain enormously grateful to the National Health Service for the huge effort and massive cost that has been involved in OT's battle for life".

The Court of Appeal judges refused the couple permission to challenge a decision by Mrs Justice Parker made after a 10-day hearing.

Neither the baby, the trust involved in the case, nor the parents - Mr and Mrs T - can be identified.


The moral view is, that a patient or those acting on behalf of a patient can say, let nature take its course
Peter Smith
Catholic Archbishop of Cardiff

Lord Justice Ward was told the couple had decided to wait outside the courtroom while the ruling was given as they could not face hearing the decision.

He said he would like to have addressed them personally and asked their lawyers to pass on the message that it was impossible not to feel the "deepest sympathy for their predicament".

The NHS trust had argued that the boy was suffering intolerable pain as a result of his treatment and condition and had no prospect of recovery.

Lord Justice Ward and Lord Justice Wilson said they would give the reasons for their decision at a later date.

Radical disagreement

Raanan Gillon, professor of medical ethics at Imperial College London, said everyone involved took the right course of action.

He told the BBC: "Rather than, as in the old days, the doctors would simply have said 'well, we know best and we withdraw the treatment', presumably they have tried hard to discuss and come to agreement about what's in the child's best interests.

"But given the lack of agreement they did the right thing, it's now the normal thing to do, which is to go to the courts - society's referee, as it were - to say look, we both want the best for this child, but we disagree radically about what's in the child's interest... it's your role to make a decision, and that's what's happened."

And Peter Smith, the Catholic Archbishop of Cardiff, believes the court's decision was a moral one.

He told the BBC: "There comes a point towards the end of our life when treatment becomes futile or incredibly burdensome, and causes suffering.

"At that point then, the church's view on that, the moral view is, that a patient or those acting on behalf of a patient can say, let nature take its course."
 
#2
It is an incredibley hard choice to make....

And to be honest, I wouldn't want to touch it with a 12ft pole!!!!

I just prey that I will never have to find out what it is like for the parents of the poor little mite.
 
#3
chocolate_frog said:
It is an incredibley hard choice to make....

And to be honest, I wouldn't want to touch it with a 12ft pole!!!!

I just prey that I will never have to find out what it is like for the parents of the poor little mite.
Agreed. Not sure what I would do in their shoes and I hope to Jeebus I never have to find out.
 
#4
A seriously ill baby whose parents lost a court battle with doctors to keep him alive on a ventilator has died.

The nine-month-old, known as "Baby OT", had a rare metabolic disorder and had brain damage and respiratory failure.

His parents had appealed against a ruling at London's High Court that it was in the boy's best interests to withdraw "life-sustaining treatment".

Baby OT was unable to breathe by himself and died at 1008 GMT after doctors withdrew his treatment.

'He died peacefully'

His parents said they were "deeply distressed" by the decision of the High Court in London and said the life of their "beautiful boy" was worth preserving.

The couple said through their solicitor after the death was announced: "During his short time with us, OT became the focus of our lives. We were present during his last moments, together with [his] extended family.

"He died peacefully. We will miss him greatly and wish to say that we are proud to have known our beautiful son for his brief life."
 
#5
I don't have any kids either,so maybe my view is less relevant,but I think the judges made the correct decision.If they had kept the baby alive,what sort of life would that be for any of them?
IIRC there was a time when babies that were not going to have a "normal life",were quietly put to sleep with a pillow over their faces.
 
#6
vvaannmmaann said:
I don't have any kids either,so maybe my view is less relevant,but I think the judges made the correct decision.If they had kept the baby alive,what sort of life would that be for any of them?
IIRC there was a time when babies that were not going to have a "normal life",were quietly put to sleep with a pillow over their faces.
And we used to set dogs on tethered bears for fun. Thank feck we have moved on in both respects.
 
#7
Not every life conceived is a life to be lived. Science has moved very quickly in some aspects and 'we' seem to think that 'we' can and should save every life. I don't hold that view and as terrible as it is for some families (my family has experienced the 'to live or not to live' question with one of my grandparents) I think that 'we' need to accept that as precious as life is, it is life not existence that makes us what we are. Humanity is as much about ending a life as saving a life.
 
#8
I DO have kids (not that that fact makes me more or less qualified to comment) and I also think the judges made the right decision. He was a cabbage breathing and eating through a tube. How is that living? I think the parents in this case were trying to keep him alive purely for their own sake, not his.

I do think it's a bit hypocritical of the courts of our land to make this decision when there are people fighting for the right to voluntary euthanasia and being denied. Not that these cases are the same, but they do both try to put different values on the human life.
 

Biped

LE
Book Reviewer
#9
I can't even begin to imagine what pain they must be going through, and I wouldn't presume to try and make a judgement on their decision to go to court either.
 
#10
Biped said:
I can't even begin to imagine what pain they must be going through, and I wouldn't presume to try and make a judgement on their decision to go to court either.
It's easier for us to make a judgement based on cold facts and common sense, as it wasn't our child. I hope that if I'm ever faced with a moral decision like that, I'll accept facts and reason and let the child die in peace.
 
#11
skintboymike said:
I do think it's a bit hypocritical of the courts of our land to make this decision when there are people fighting for the right to voluntary euthanasia and being denied. Not that these cases are the same, but they do both try to put different values on the human life.
This is not a direct comparison as life-prolonging treatment is withdrawn from adults too - what is being denied to the applicants for voluntary euthanasia is the right for other people to assist them with suicide when they feel the time is right.
 
#12
just a thought when they talk about withdrawing feeding do they mean in plain english "starving him to death " and does it include withdrawl of fluids? Only its my understanding that its a rather unpleasant way to die.
 
#13
just a thought when they talk about withdrawing feeding do they mean in plain english "starving him to death " and does it include withdrawl of fluids? Only its my understanding that its a rather unpleasant way to die.
spike7451 said:
Baby OT was unable to breathe by himself and died at 1008 GMT after doctors withdrew his treatment.

'He died peacefully'
 
#14
A very distressing story, but I support the decision to turn off the machines keeping this poor mite alive. I was listening to the news this morning and there was a lady being interviewed - I didn't catch whether she was an NHS Adminsitrator ( :evil: ) or a Politician ( :evil: :evil: ), but she was making a very valid point. Every day across Britain decisions similar to this have to be taken, as the quality of life of the baby is so negligible. Babies such as this are generally in constant pain and therefore normally heavily sedated. Eventually, a stark choice has to be made, because the poor child is effectively using up valuable hospital intensive care resources, which could be used more effectively elsewhere.

Normally I would be tearing my hair out at the penny-pinching attitude of the NHS administrators, but in this case I have to agree. This is not about keeping a child alive long enough so that their quality of life eventually improves - that is never going to happen.
So, if you keep them alive indefinitely, the truly horrifying scenario is that you will have hospital wards across the country choc a bloc with cots full of tiny scraps of humanity wired up to machines. Not quite as bad as the scene in Aliens 3, when Ripley throws a track, but not far way.
My sympathies to the poor parents.
 
#15
Bravo_Zulu said:
just a thought when they talk about withdrawing feeding do they mean in plain english "starving him to death " and does it include withdrawl of fluids? Only its my understanding that its a rather unpleasant way to die.
spike7451 said:
Baby OT was unable to breathe by himself and died at 1008 GMT after doctors withdrew his treatment.

'He died peacefully'
Ah so "he died peacefully" is now a euphemism for dying choking struggling to draw breath.
 
#16
i have a baby a bit younger than baby OT and the decision to turn of life support must have been the hardest thing to accept. i think that the worst thing would be to have the decision taken away from you. any parent wants the least amount of suffering possible and wants their children to live a full and happy life and so i'm sure they would have come to the decision best for their baby on their own.
i wouldn't pass judgement because it can happen to anyone and when it's you and you remember putting on here that the baby should die if it was going to be a "vegetable" you'll feel ashamed at ever thinking it.
or maybe i have as much emotional % of empathy as i do physically of water?! lol
 
#17
Suddick said:
vvaannmmaann said:
I don't have any kids either,so maybe my view is less relevant,but I think the judges made the correct decision.If they had kept the baby alive,what sort of life would that be for any of them?
IIRC there was a time when babies that were not going to have a "normal life",were quietly put to sleep with a pillow over their faces.
And we used to set dogs on tethered bears for fun. Thank feck we have moved on in both respects.
I don't see the moral equivalence. You are talking of a position of access to greater knowledge with regard to healthcare and it's possibilities, yet you are equating that to a man made and controlled fight between two species. Chalk and cheese. Both aspects of the animal fight are controlled (by human beings) otherwise there would be no entertainment. A match as close to even (or indeed one way) would be preferable. Where's the betting on the child and the disease? Where is the human control over the natural? Only with technology is that acquired. Only once that is required can you then compare. Your moral equivalence is bollox.


vvaannmmaann may have said

IIRC there was a time when babies that were not going to have a "normal life",were quietly put to sleep with a pillow over their faces.
and we cannot know what he means by "normal life" (but we all infer one), however, to start moralising with regard to people who would not have had the technology to keep an infant alive for 10 days, let alone 9 months with the same condition, is to refuse to acknowledge the humongous advancement of medicine and it's availability. There wouldn't be a case to answer without technological advancement - scream all you want about morals, but without the ability for us to keep this child alive for so long there would be no argument.

Applying our (western, 2009, UK) morality and comparing it to that of the past is nothing but moral revision, especially when you take into account the vast gap in medical knowledge and treatment over the last 150 years (and more) and it's accessibility today. AIDS is a prime example.

I distinctly remember being in Northern Thailand ( June 1997) and the village we first encountered after we left the mini-bus on our 5 day hike contained a really nice lad who was quite jolly, but had a "club foot". He had a smattering of English and we played a couple of games, gave him a selection of the things that we had all bought from the nearest market and went on our way. Our guide who was a great fella, really witty, said he was quite surprised that this boy was aged about 12, because the tribes will kill small children/babies who don't look like being able to work the fields, because they are simply an extra mouth to feed (similarly twins who were considered "bad luck"). That came as quite a shock, but it's perfectly logical to their thinking and societal requirements even in 1997. Where are our morals now? Who the f*** are you to say what these people can or cannot do? Are you going to provide a welfare state for such cases, in a place the government of the country has little writ over? It wouldn't surprise me that his foot could have been brought into a more natural position if he or his family had had access to something we take for granted.

I'd like to ask - what is the difference between smothering a baby (with regard to this case) and withdrawing treatment, which resulted in the baby dying from "not being able to breath (by itself)" - bearing in mind the difference between the level of care that can be given now, as opposed to that which could be given in the times when smothering by pillow was likely?

The only reason we have moved on is through an increase in scientific knowledge and therefore it's practical uses, which allow us to keep such children alive longer. In the past there was little hope of "longer" and therefore actions were taken to relieve suffering just as they are now - see assisted suicide in Switzerland. Humans don't change. The same is true today as in this case, it's just that the institution is now responsible rather than nature or the nanny. In the future, as we advance, our knowledge will allow us to keep people alive in circumstances that we can only dream of. And that time may look back on us as a society that put "pillows over babies faces". It still won't be justified. People and professionals will do what they "agonise over" and consider what is best. It's sh1tty, but there's nothing anyone else can do.
 
#18
Purely on an emotional level, with no logic applied.

I have kids, 3 of them.

If this would have been me, I would have put a bullet through the skull of the first person to approach the "off switch"

Logic and reason would have played no part in it, as long as the little un was in no pain. I would have quite happily slotted the first cnut that tried to kill him in the same way that I would protect the ones I have now. Anyone that doen't have undying and total loyalty to their offspring, regardless of their health, doesn't deserve them in the first place.
 
#19
Aunty Stella said:
Purely on an emotional level, with no logic applied.

I have kids, 3 of them.

If this would have been me, I would have put a bullet through the skull of the first person to approach the "off switch"

Logic and reason would have played no part in it, as long as the little un was in no pain. I would have quite happily slotted the first cnut that tried to kill him in the same way that I would protect the ones I have now. Anyone that doen't have undying and total loyalty to their offspring, regardless of their health, doesn't deserve them in the first place.
Stella - Concur!!

As to the hospital spokesperson saying the baby "died peacefully" WTF else would she say. Would she say "The baby died painfully, gasping for breath and convulsing continually". They lie to protect themselves.

It is very hard to imagine what the parents went through with the illness of the child and then the hospital seizing from them their rights as parents. All I have ever had to deal with was a 3yo with a fractured skull, fractured vertabra and fractured collarbone (fall off high wall). I spent a couple of days in an ICU at Childrens Hospital in Boston with docs and nurses muttering about coma, subdural haemotomas, possible brain damage, organ donation if brain dead etc. That week in hospital was the worst week of my entire life. The boy made a 100% recovery (Actually graduating university in 8 weeks. honors) but I still get emotional thinking what it was like.

For the parents of little OT to deal with a sick kid and a hospital taking away their rights at the same time is horrible.
 
#20
Aunty Stella said:
Purely on an emotional level, with no logic applied.

I have kids, 3 of them.

If this would have been me, I would have put a bullet through the skull of the first person to approach the "off switch"

Logic and reason would have played no part in it, as long as the little un was in no pain. I would have quite happily slotted the first cnut that tried to kill him in the same way that I would protect the ones I have now. Anyone that doen't have undying and total loyalty to their offspring, regardless of their health, doesn't deserve them in the first place.
My bold.
That is exactly why the decision had to be taken to the courts, as a Father of 3 myself i would react exactly the same way as you if it were one of mine, the most important job of a parent is to protect his kids.

But, the parents attitude, although emotionally proper, was logically incorrect and biased. The judge would not have lightly said "fcuk the kid, switch it off and then we can go for a fine glass of brandy in my chambers". More likely, it would have been a long and agonising decision involving re-examining all the cases and evidence presented, with the best possible decision made.

And I don't believe for a second that the Dr's or nurses treating the child would have let him suffer in anyway. Medical professionals are people too, they would feel the death of a child they had been caring for and nurturing too.

I can understand the anger and the vitriol on this subject, it appeals to our most basic instincts, and our darkest fears. But I can't see that there is a 'bad guy' in this tragedy. There is no negligence, malice or hatred, just love, caring, and above all else the best interests of a poor sick child.

RIP little fella
 

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