Court rules to turn off life support for baby who tried to breathe two weeks after being declared brain dead

A heartbroken family whose baby started breathing two weeks after doctors pronounced it brain dead has lost their legal battle to maintain its life support.

A judge in the UK High Court’s Family Division ruled on the five-month-old boy in a case that bears devastating parallels to Archie Battersby’s parents’ recent struggle to keep their 12-year-old boy alive.

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The Independent reports that specialists treating the infant told the court the child had a “catastrophic” brain injury with “no chance” of recovery. They also told the court to remove him from a ventilator and give him palliative care.

However, the child’s parents had argued that the boy should have been given more time to “make progress” after it seemed he was starting to breathe.

Sky News UK reports that doctors at a London hospital performed two sets of brainstem tests before seeking a second opinion to confirm his death.

Two weeks later, however, a nurse observed the then four-month-old breathing.

The case has prompted a revision of the Academy of Royal Colleges’ code of practice on brainstem testing, as well as an urgent warning from the National Health System that staff should look out for “conditions and red flags” in children before organ removal.

However, the nearly four-month struggle by the child’s parents to keep the unnamed boy alive ended in Britain’s High Court on Wednesday local time.

“The treatment is futile,” said Judge Poole in his ruling on the child identified as A.

“It cannot bring about an improvement in A’s condition.

“As long as he is kept alive, he will suffer more burdens than benefits from staying alive.”

The boy was first pronounced dead in June following brainstem tests but remained on a ventilator after his parents began a legal battle.

Immediately after a preliminary hearing at the High Court in July, the boy began breathing and was seen “gasping,” reported The Independent.

Senior specialists are still trying to figure out why the child was trying to breathe after being medically pronounced dead. ITV reported that a senior doctor at a previous hearing said she was not aware of any other cases where this had happened.

The Independent reports that the court was told the parents had been questioned by police with evidence suggesting the child sustained “non-accidental injuries”.

They are being further investigated but charges have yet to be brought.

The case follows that of Battersbee, whose parents took Barts Health NHS Trust to court to request brainstem tests on him after specialists pronounced him brain dead.

After a subsequent legal battle, an extension of life support for the 12-year-old was eventually refused and he died on August 6.

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https://7news.com.au/news/world/court-rules-to-turn-off-life-support-for-baby-who-tried-to-breathe-two-weeks-after-being-declared-brain-dead–c-8403524 Court rules to turn off life support for baby who tried to breathe two weeks after being declared brain dead

James Brien

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