Parents of terminally ill baby oppose HSE application

Friday 20 June 2014 19.37
The case was adjourned to allow an independent medical expert carry out an assessment of the child
The case was adjourned to allow an independent medical expert carry out an assessment of the child

Parents of a terminally ill baby girl have opposed an application by the Health Service Executive to the High Court for permission not to resuscitate the child should her condition deteriorate.  

Lawyers for the HSE applied for a declaration that it will be lawful for medical staff treating the child not to administer CPR and ventilation to her if her condition deteriorates.

The court heard that the parents are objecting to the HSE's application because they are "hoping for a miracle".

The eight-month-old child's mother told the High Court in Dublin that she did not want her "rights as a mother taken away" by the HSE in respect of her child's treatment.

She told High Court President Judge Nicholas Kearns that she is fully aware of her daughter's condition, and that she "will never reach adulthood".

However, she and her husband want to make any decision that affects their child's life.

Seeking the order the HSE, represented by Tim O'Leary SC, said the child has a genetic disorder for which there is "no known cure".

During the child's short life she has suffered from epilepsy, has trouble breathing, has sight and hearing problems and cannot swallow. 

Children with this condition do not live beyond their first year, the court heard.

The HSE's counsel said, following an assessment by expert medical staff, it was seeking the declaration in the child's "best interests".

The HSE lawyer said the child's parents have taken a different view and want her to have CPR and or ventilation.

Mr Justice Kearns adjourned the case to allow an independent medical expert carry out an assessment of the child.