Baby Charlotte Wyatt Must Die: English Courts Rule Doctors, Not Parents, Get to Decide
A British High Court judge has ruled that doctors who want to let Charlotte Wyatt die must be allowed to do so, despite the wishes of her parents.
The parents of Charlotte Wyatt have been told that doctors are to be allowed to let their profoundly ill baby daughter die if they feel it is in her best interests.
A High Court judge yesterday lifted a previous ruling that she should always be resuscitated, on the grounds that the two-year-old was now on a “downward rather than an upward trend”. Mr Justice Hedley heard an emergency application from doctors treating her that she had developed an aggressive chest infection and was unlikely to survive any moves to keep her alive. “Medical evidence speaks with one voice, that ventilation simply will not achieve the end for which no doubt the parents would wish,” he said.
Charlotte’s condition was said to be “deteriorating” last night. Her mother, Debbie, 24, from Portsmouth, still believes that if her daughter were ventilated she would recover. But Mr Justice Hedley said there had been a “very significant deterioration in Charlotte’s condition”. It is the fifth time he has had to make a ruling about Charlotte’s treatment.
Doctors at St Mary’s Hospital, Portsmouth, had previously argued that her life was so intolerable that if her condition worsened they should be allowed to withhold treatment. Charlotte suffers from severe lung, brain and kidney damage. But her condition improved so much that last October the judge removed a ruling allowing doctors to let her die.
A sad case. It may well be that the doctors are right and that the parents are clinging to false hope out of sheer desperation. One would think, though, that the decision would be theirs. Unfortunately, when the state pays for health care, it gets to make these decisions.