May 26, 2024

Disabled boy in UK to be allowed to die

Father withdraws opposition to Baby RB’s death

Last week BioEdge reported that a UK hospital had asked the High Court if it could allow a severely disabled one-year-old boy known as Baby RB to die.

The local health authority had decided it was in his best interests even though the child was not brain-damaged. However doctors said that he cannot move his limbs or facial muscles, swallow or breathe unaided and cannot communicate in any way.

According to the London Telegraph, sometime soon, at a time to be agreed between the parents and the doctors, he will be heavily sedated and his ventilator will be withdrawn. This will “bring his life to a dignified end”, as his parents said in a statement.

The doctors were originally supported by the mother but opposed by the father. This week the father withdrew his opposition after telling the court that he realised that everything had been done for his son.

The judge, Mr Justice McFarlane, said, “I agree with the outcome and consider that the conclusion to which they and the clinicians have come is the only tenable outcome for RB, the viability of whose life, from its first moment, has depended upon receiving intensive and invasive care from others.”

RB, as the boy is called to protect the family’s privacy, has congenital myasthenia syndrome, a rare neuromuscular condition that prevents him from breathing on his own and severely restricts his power to move his limbs. ~ London Telegraph, Nov 12

Michael Cook

One thought on “Disabled boy in UK to be allowed to die

  1. I think it is important to observe,in this tragic case, that the decision of the doctors, judge and finally parents, although heart-rending is consistent with the principles of traditonal ethics. It is very easy to comprehend the earlier position of Baby RB’s father but the extraordinary interventions required to keep this baby alive would not be morally binding on any doctor or parent. His condition is such that his survival could be maintained only via a modus vivendi amounting to an intolerable burden, firstly for Baby RB but inevitably for his parents also.

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