Judge rules it is not in boy's best interests to 'artificially prolong' life

Judge rules it is not in boy's best interests to 'artificially prolong' life

Hospital bosses say staff have acted in the best interests of a ''profoundly neurologically disabled'' two-year-old boy at the centre of a High Court treatment dispute in the UK.

A judge has ruled that the youngster's life should not be artificially prolonged - and has given medics permission to provide only palliative care.

Officials at Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust - who have responsibility for the boy's care - had asked Mrs Justice Parker to make a decision.

The boy's parents say they are devastated - and say the judge's ruling "effectively condemns their son to death".

They say specialists have "not explored all possible options".

But a trust spokesman said staff had acted in the boy's best interests - he said medics would "continue to provide the best possible care".

"Staff have been acting in the best interests of their patient throughout this difficult and tragic case," said the spokesman.

"Our teams of nurses and doctors will continue to provide the best possible care for this little boy."

He added: "We will continue to work with the child's family and to offer support to them through this difficult time."

Specialists said the little boy suffered from an incurable, but unidentified, neurological disorder - and that his condition was deteriorating.

They said he was ''profoundly neurologically disabled".

Nurses said he had stopped smiling and that he grimaced but no longer giggled when tickled.

Doctors said ''further invasive interventions'' would be distressing and burdensome for the little boy and would have little or no therapeutic benefit.

The youngster's parents disagreed with the idea of providing only palliative care and implementing an ''end-of-life plan''.

They said all treatment options should continue to be available.

Mrs Justice Parker had overseen the case at a public hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London and made a ruling on Wednesday.

She said it was not in the little boy's best interests to "artificially prolong" his life.

The judge said the boy could not be identified.

Solicitor Kavi Mayor, who is based at Jung & Co Solicitors and represented the boy's parents, said his clients were "devastated".

"They believe that the declarations made by the court effectively condemn their son to death," said Mr Mayor after the hearing.

"They believe that their son's life is worth saving."

He added: "They are particularly concerned that a prognosis has been given by the doctors when no firm diagnosis has been made.

"They remain of the view that all possible treatment options should remain open to their son and that the NHS trust have, to date, not explored all possible options."

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