Parents of 'brain dead' baby who tried to breathe lose appeal bids to keep him on life support

Arabnews24.ca:Thursday 6 October 2022 12:17 PM: The parents of a baby who tried to breathe after doctors said he was brain dead are "devastated" after losing the latest stage of their legal fight to keep him on life support, their lawyer has said.

Recently the High Court ruled that ending the treatment for the brain-damaged child was both lawful and in his best interests, with Mr Justice Poole saying further treatment was "futile".

The couple had made applications to the Court of Appeal in London and the European Court of Human Rights in France, but both were rejected.

The five-month-old boy was declared dead in June after he was diagnosed as brain stem dead by doctors after being found unresponsive.

He is still on a ventilator because his parents were unhappy with the diagnosis and began legal proceedings.

Doctors said his brain had been starved of oxygen for over 30 minutes and he suffered "devastating" brain damage.

Specialists agreed that the boy, who is on a ventilator, has no prospect of recovering and should be given palliative care.

More on Nhs

The NHS website says: "Brain stem death is when a person on an artificial life support machine no longer has any brain functions. This means they will not regain consciousness or be able to breathe without support."

The boy's parents, who are Muslims of Bangladeshi origin, urged the court to give him more time to "make progress" or for "Allah to intervene".

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Two weeks later, in the midst of the legal battle, a nurse noticed the boy was trying to breathe.

The baby's father told Sky News extra caution was

In the wake of this, the NHS to warn staff to take "extra caution" when extracting organs telling them to pay "particular attention to preconditions and red flags" in children.

It also prompted the Academy of Royal Medical Colleges (ARMC), which sets the test to establish if a person is brain dead to say it would rewrite the code of practice on brain stem testing.

The boy, who will be six months old on Friday, is currently in a specialist unit at a London hospital.

Mr Justice Poole oversaw a private hearing but allowed the media to attend.

He said the case could be reported but neither the boy nor medics involved in his care can be identified in media coverage.

Read more: NHS staff told to take 'extra caution' extracting organs after 'brain-dead' baby starts breathing

The couple had lost an earlier High Court fight; Mr Justice Poole oversaw a second trial after they successfully appealed.

Lawyers representing Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust, which is responsible for the boy's care, had asked for decisions about what moves are in his best interests.

Parental consent in instances like this is far from straightforward.

Undated family handout photo of Archie Battersbee, 12, who's mother Hollie Dance, 46, is at the centre of a High Court life-treatment dispute has urged a judge to give the youngster
Image: Archie Battersbee

Earlier in the year, the High Court ruled against the parents of 12-year-old Archie Battersbee after Barts Health NHS Trust took them to court to brain stem test him after doctors said he was brain dead.

After a legal battle lasting weeks, Archie's life support machine was switched off and he died on 6 August.

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