Christian parents not allowed to wait for miracle as boy's life support is to be switched off
13 August 2012
A judge has ruled that a boy’s life support system can be turned off, despite insistence from his Christian parents that he should be kept alive in case of a miracle.
The judge upheld a request from doctors to withdraw the treatment from the boy, who had suffered a lung failure after a rapid deterioration of health.
The family of the boy told the High Court that they believed the boy was still conscious and there was still a chance that divine intervention may come to his rescue, but Mr Justice Ryder said that there was no hope of a recovery, and that keeping him alive would be wrong.
The judge did however pay respect to the family’s faith and said that their presence would provide comfort for the boy.
The boy underwent surgery at three months of age to repair several holes in his heart. He had lived a normal life ever since, until a rapid decline in health after a band around his pulmonary artery was surgically removed in June.
This eventually led to an Ecmo life-support machine taking over the function of both his heart and lungs.
Doctors told the court that the longer a patient relies on an Ecmo machine, the more likely they are to develop infections and suffer and slow and painful death.
Thus it was decided, as there was no visible improvement in his condition, that the treatment should be withdrawn. However, his parents would not give consent and instructed lawyers to challenge the application.
The boy’s mother said: “Unexpected things can happen and because of [the boy’s] faith and my trust in God and my understanding that he is the one who gave him life he is the one alone who can end that life, I cannot agree to the lifeline of oxygen being taken away from him. God could intervene in a miraculous way.”
In conclusion, Mr Justice Ryder said: “I hope that he continues to live his life with dignity and when his life ends his family will understand that he lived it to the full.”