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Mother of brain-damaged boy loses appeal in right-to-life fight

Published 14/07/2016

The Court of Appeal upheld the High Court ruling
The Court of Appeal upheld the High Court ruling

The mother of a two-year-old boy who suffered catastrophic injuries in a car accident has lost the latest round of a right-to-life court battle.

A High Court judge had given doctors permission to stop providing life-support treatment to the brain-damaged toddler - against his mother's wishes.

Now the woman has failed to persuade two Court of Appeal judges to overturn that ruling.

Mrs Justice Parker had decided that the boy should be moved to a palliative care regime following a hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London in June.

Appeal judges Lord Justice McFarlane and Lady Justice King have upheld Mrs Justice Parker's decision after analysing the woman's challenge at a Court of Appeal hearing in London earlier this month.

They said the boy could not be identified.

Judges heard that the boy had suffered a catastrophic spinal injury and brain damage when a car being driven by his mother was in an accident late last year.

Specialists felt that continued mechanical ventilation was futile - and ''burdensome'' for him.

His mother, who was represented by solicitor Laura Hobey-Hamsher, from law firm Bindmans, disagreed.

She questioned whether evidence demonstrated that her son was ''in pain''.

And she said the ''preciousness of life'' meant he should get the chance to continue living until there was a ''degree of certainty'' that the ''burden of the treatment'' was too much.

But appeal judges ruled against her.

They said Mrs Justice Parker had "weighed up with care" all factors relating to the child's best interests.

The boy's grandmother had urged Lord Justice McFarlane and Lady Justice King at the appeal hearing to give the toddler "a little more time''.

''If there is any hope that he will come around, and recognise our faces, smile at us, it will make our day - because he is such a precious child to us," she said.'

''Just the thought of losing him is killing us.''

Lord Justice McFarlane described the case as "tragic" and said judges had heard the grandmother's "clear and heartfelt message".

But he said the only "justifiable outcome" was for the appeal to be dismissed.

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