HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Concordia University School of Law

Friday, April 22, 2005

New Futility Case: Baby Charlotte (UK)

The news wires report that a High Court Family Division judge in London has affirmed an October 2004 order that an 18-month-old baby, Charlotte Wyatt, should be allowed to die over the objections of parents who want life-sustaining treatment continued (BBC, Daily Telegraph, ABC/AP).  The baby was born three months premature, weighing one pound, and with brain, lung, and kidney damage.  Her physicians testified that "terminally ill with a chronic respiratory disease, said the judge. He was convinced by the majority medical opinion that Charlotte was unlikely to survive even with ventilation. If she did, her life would again become intolerable. It would not be in her best interests 'to die in the course of futile aggressive treatment'."  Although the comparison is inapt, the AP story finds echoes of Terri Schiavo in the British case, in which the baby's parents vow to take their case to the Court of Appeal.  [tm]

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