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Doctors can stop boy's treatment

A High Court judge today gave specialists permission to stop providing life-support treatment to a sick little boy who has been in hospital all his life and on a ventilator for several weeks.

Mrs Justice Theis concluded that further life-support treatment was unlikely to prolong the youngster's life but would cause him pain and distress.

The judge had been told by doctors that the little boy had a neurological condition - the cause of which was not known - and was likely to die within weeks without life-support treatment.

She ruled that doctors could withdraw life-support treatment after a hearing in the Court of Protection in London.

The youngster's parents had asked the judge to give their son "every opportunity to live for as long as he could without causing him harm" and were in court to hear her decision.

Mrs Justice Theis made the ruling after a public court hearing but said nothing could be reported which might identify the youngster - including his age and the hospital where he was a patient.

The Court of Protection is part of the High Court and judges analyse issues involving sick and vulnerable people.

Mrs Justice Theis said doctors and the boy's parents had both agreed that he should be taken off a ventilator.

But they had disagreed about what should happen after that.

Doctors had said further life support treatment or resuscitation would not be in his best interests.

They said he should be made comfortable and given palliative care.

But his parents had wanted him to be given further life support treatment - including respiratory support - if necessary.

"What the parents want is for (their son) to be given every opportunity to live for as long as possible without causing him harm," said Mrs Justice Theis.

"I have reached the conclusion that any further treatment given to (the little boy) over a significant period of time by way of artificial ventilation is unlikely to prolong life expectancy."


From Belfast Telegraph