HSE opposing seriously-ill baby’s resuscitation

HSE wants declaration it will be lawful for medical staff not to administer CPR and ventilation to child if condition deteriorates

Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns: adjourned the case yesterday to allow an independent medical expert, on behalf of her parents, assess the child

Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns: adjourned the case yesterday to allow an independent medical expert, on behalf of her parents, assess the child

Sat, Jun 21, 2014, 01:00

The parents of a terminally ill baby girl are opposing an application by the Health Service Executive for court orders permitting doctors not to resuscitate the child should her condition deteriorate. 

The parents are “hoping for a miracle” and the eight-month-old child’s mother told the High Court, in relation to the treatment, she did not want her rights as a mother taken away.

She and her husband had been with the baby 24 hours daily from birth, she said. “Our daughter is our life.”

The HSE wants a declaration it will be lawful for medical staff treating the child not to administer CPR and ventilation to her if her condition deteriorates.

President of the High Court Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns yesterday adjourned the case to allow an independent medical expert, on behalf of her parents, assess the child.

Difficult

This was “a very, very difficult and sad situation” both for the child’s family and the medical staff treating her, the judge said. He praised the parents who he said have done everything they possibly can for their daughter.

The child is to recieve CPR and or ventillation, should the need arise and if her parents wish her to have it, between now and the time the matter returns before the court.

None of the parties can be identified by court order.

Earlier, the mother told the judge she is fully aware of her daughter’s condition and that the child “will never reach adulthood” but she and her husband wanted to make any decision affecting their child’s life.

Tim O’Leary SC, for the HSE, said the child has a genetic disorder for which there is “no known cure”. The child has suffered from epilepsy, has trouble breathing, sight and hearing problems and cannot swallow.

Children with this condition do not live beyond their first year, it was stated. Following an assessment by expert medical staff, the HSE was seeking the declaration not to resuscitate because that was in the child’s “best interests”, counsel said.

Deteriorate

Should her condition deteriorate, the child’s doctors did not wish her suffering prolonged by invasive aggressive treatment and performing CPR or ventilation has caused her pain and distress, counsel said.