Belfast Telegraph

'I just want to lay my girl to rest', says right-to-life row dad

The woman who is clinically dead but 17 weeks pregnant is being kept alive against her family’s will

By Shane Phelan

The father of a clinically dead pregnant woman being kept alive by doctors against her family's wishes has told how they are enduring a horrific ordeal.

The man said all he wanted was to lay his "poor little girl to rest", but he was being prevented from doing so because of what he called a "horrible catastrophe".

"I don't know how I am coping at the minute," he added.

The woman, an unmarried mother in her 20s, cannot be identified due to a court order.

She suffered a catastrophic internal injury a fortnight ago as a result of a blood clot.

Despite being braindead, she has been put on a life support machine for her 17-week-old foetus.

Doctors in the Republic fear they would be breaking the law if they were to accept the family's request to switch off assistance.

The woman's father said it was his hope the High Court would allow for the family's wishes to be carried out.

"We are all hoping, the whole family and everyone else that I know, that something should come about to get us out of this horrible catastrophe," he added.

The President of the High Court, Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns, has made himself available to consider the case on Tuesday.

The father declined to say anything further, citing advice he had received from his legal representatives.

"Until such time as something happens on Tuesday, I'd rather not comment any further," he said.

It is understood the woman's relatives will be represented in court by former Attorney General John Rogers.

The Irish High Court was initially notified about the case last Monday, and legal observers say it may ultimately end up being a matter for the Supreme Court.

The woman had been cared for at Beaumont Hospital but was transferred to another hospital outside of Dublin over a week ago.

Doctors at Beaumont devised a care plan to give the unborn baby as much chance of survival as possible.

That care plan is being followed in the new hospital, which has specialist equipment for monitoring the foetus.

Experts believe the unborn baby would have to develop for another nine or 10 weeks before it could be considered viable.

However, advances in neonatal care mean it could be delivered before that point.

The woman is continuing to be fed through a tube and the child is developing. But concern exists as to whether the baby can survive and about the potential for complications.

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