Dad Fights to Keep Baby on Life Support
posted: 2 HOURS 32 MINUTES
(Nov. 2) -- A British hospital wants to remove a 1-year-old boy born with a rare neuromuscular condition from life support, but the child's father is fighting to keep him alive.
The baby's mother agrees with hospital officials, who sought High Court permission Monday to remove the boy from the ventilator that allows him to breathe, British media reported.
"RB's mother has sat by her son's bedside every day since he was born," her lawyer, Anthony Fairweather, said in a statement, according to Sky News. "In her mind the intolerable suffering experienced by her son must outweigh her own personal grief should she lose her child."
The infant, known only as "Baby RB," was born with congenital myasthenic syndrome, a muscle weakness that limits the movement of his limbs and his ability to breathe on his own. He has been in the hospital since birth.
Doctors treating the baby say he has such poor quality of life that it's not in his best interests to keep him alive. But lawyers for the father argue that the child's brain is not affected by the condition and that Baby RB can see, hear, feel, recognize his parents and even play with toys.
"This is a tragic case. The father feels very strongly that Baby RB has a quality of life that demands the trust should continue to provide life-sustaining treatment. The father clearly adores his son and hopes to demonstrate to the court that the trust's application should be rejected," Christopher Cuddihee, a lawyer representing the father, told the Sunday Telegraph.
The parents are separated, but both have been living in a special dedicated family accommodation near the hospital since Baby RB's birth. Their identities were withheld for legal reasons.
If the hospital's application is granted, it will be the first time a British court has gone against the wishes of a parent and ruled that life support can be discontinued or withdrawn from a child who does not have brain damage, the Guardian newspaper said.
Congenital myasthenic syndrome is the result of a rare gene abnormality that affects the link between the nerve and muscle, destroying the "signal" between the two when the nerve wants the muscle to contract.
Only 300 people in the United Kingdom are believed to have CMS, and they are affected with varying degrees of severity.