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Baby OT -- The Appellate Decision

Posted Jun 19 2009 4:03pm
In March, I blogged about a British court that granted a NHS hospital the right to withdraw life-sustaining treatment from Baby OT over his parents' objections. That order was affirmed by the appellate court, but given the time exigencies, the appellate court just issued its written statement of reasons a few weeks ago. A copy of In re OT, [2009] EWCA Civ 409 is available here.
The High Court of Justice decision basically held that:
notwithstanding any refusal to consent on the part of the parents, it would be lawful for the hospital, were it to consider such to be in OT's best interests, not to resuscitate him in the event that he were to suffer a cardiac or respiratory arrest, not to provide haemofiltration for renal failure, not to escalate ventilator therapy, not to administer inotropes in the event of a cardiovascular collapse and not to replace the central venous line.
The appeal was ultimately on a very technical ground. But the Court of Appeal did agree with the High Court of Justice on the merits:
The facts (so we considered) were clear; the medical opinion was unambiguous; and, although one could not reasonably expect the parents to be able to bring objective opinion to bear upon so dreadful a situation, the only proper programme for OT in his interests was, as his own independent, professional representative contended, entirely obvious.
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