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High Court: Disabled Baby Should Live

A disabled baby boy battling life with life support should be kept alive, till death comes naturally, according to a ruling by the High Court. // This is a landmark judgement, especially, since doctors treating the boy have favored the withdrawal of life support, to allow him to die, rather than prolong a life that is so intolerably enmeshed in pain.

The Judge’s ruling disallowed the NHS trust to sweep aside the parents’ wishes and withdraw the life support system. Anti-euthanasia and Charity outfits have favored the ruling, that it has put a full-stop to a trend down a dangerous slope.

The boy, known as MB for legal purposes, had a congenital spinal muscular atrophy which had rendered him paralyzed and completely immobile. The boy is not able to breathe on his own or even swallow on his own and therefore has to bear the ordeal of a number of painful treatment procedures on a daily basis that keeps him alive.

Doctors feel it is inhuman to allow a boy to continue to lead a very miserable quality of life, and hence had requested the High Court to grant a declaration to permit them to withdraw the life support. This is perhaps the first case, where the doctors treating a patient, who is physically disabled, rather than mentally, have sought permission from the court to allow him to die.

The judge in his ruling said: It is indeed a helpless and sad life but that life does in my view include within it benefits. It is impossible to put a mathematical or any other value on the benefits, but they are precious and real and they are the benefits M was destined to gain from his life.I do not think that the perceived advantage of a 'good death' can yet tip the scales so that the benefits of survival and life itself are outweighed.

The Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health expressed that this ruling will be guidance for the future in incredibly rare and difficult cases.


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