Three-month-old baby boy who started trying to breathe a WEEK after doctors declared he was dead remains unlikely to recover, High Court judge rules
- The baby’s parents called him a ‘miracle’ but wanted a declaration of death
- Judge Mr Justice Hayden said it was important it was put ‘into the public domain’
- Doctors took back ‘the clinical ascertainment of death’, to collect more evidence
- Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust are caring for the young boy
A seriously ill baby who started trying to breathe just a week after doctors decided he was dead is unlikely to recover, a High Court judge has said.
He is currently in a ‘parlous situation’ as lawyers told Mr Justice Hayden that a nurse noticed the boy trying to breathe after doctors had carried out brain stem tests and concluded that he had died.
Details of the case were revealed last week after Mr Justice Hayden considered evidence at an online hearing.
He published a ruling on the case and says the baby’s parents saw what happened as a ‘miracle’.
The judge said in his ruling that it was important that what occurred was put ‘into the public domain’ because it might prove to have ‘wider resonance’.
Bosses at the London hospital trust responsible for the three-month-old boy’s care got involved in a treatment dispute with his parents over his care.
St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust are caring for the three-month-old boy
Doctors had to rescind ‘the clinical ascertainment of death’ after the boy started trying to breathe again
They asked a judge based in the Family Division of the High Court in London to consider the case.
The family want a declaration that the boy, who was born in April this year, was dead.
A specialist told the judge the baby ‘now has consistent shallow irregular breathing’ when not connected to a ventilator.
But he said evidence indicated the boy is ‘not likely’ to recover.
Mr Justice Hayden, who is due to reconsider the case at a hearing in late August, said doctors had rescinded ‘the clinical ascertainment of death’, as ‘further independent expert evidence’ was being gathered.
He said the circumstances were ‘entirely unforeseen’ and unprecedented in his experience.
Mr Justice Hayden said the boy, referred to as A in the ruling, could not be identified.
Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust have responsibility for the boy’s care and had begun the legal process.
‘There was no hesitation by the hospital in immediately rescinding the clinical ascertainment of death,’ said Mr Justice Hayden.
‘The speed and sensitivity with which that was done has been a great comfort to the parents.
‘I should record that both parents regard what has happened as a miracle.’
But he went on: ‘A is alive but that should not occlude the parlous situation he is in neurologically.
‘His parents wish and pray for a recovery, but the evidence indicates that is not likely.’
Mr Justice Hayden considered the baby’s case last week, just days before a separate case where doctors could lawfully stop treating a 12-year-old boy who suffered ‘catastrophic’ brain damage in an accident at his home in Southend, Essex, three months ago.
Doctors treating Archie Battersbee at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, east London, said they thought he was ‘brain-stem dead’ and continued life support treatment was not in his best interests.
Lawyers for the Royal London Hospital’s governing trust, Barts Health NHS Trust, had asked for decisions about what medical moves were in Archie’s best interests.
Archie’s parents, Hollie Dance and Paul Battersbee, disagree with specialists’ conclusions.
They say their boys heart is still beating and plan on challenging Mr Justice Hayden’s ruling in the Court of Appeal.
Mr Justice Hayden said the baby’s case was ‘entirely different’ to Archie’s case.
He said, in Archie’s case, brain stem testing had been ‘incomplete’, and added: ‘Here, it appears to have been consistently repeated with full adherence to clinical guidelines.’
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