Court reserves judgment on resuscitating terminally ill baby

Tuesday 29 July 2014 22.57
The court heard the best option would be to allow for the child to be cared for at home
The court heard the best option would be to allow for the child to be cared for at home

The High Court has reserved its judgment in an application by the Health Service Executive to allow doctors not to resuscitate a terminally ill nine-month-old baby if her condition deteriorates.

High Court President Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns will give his decision at a later date.

The HSE wants the court to allow them not to administer CPR or ventilation if the child gets worse.

Barrister Paul Anthony McDermott for the HSE said CPR or ventilation for a very young baby is a very invasive and a very aggressive treatment.

The baby suffers from a genetic condition for which there is no known cure or treatment. Babies with such conditions are not expected to survive past 12 months.

The application is being opposed by the child's parents. The court was told previously that they are "hoping for a miracle".

The parents have been with the baby every day since her birth.

The mother has told the court she had to do everything in her power to give her child the love, comfort and care she deserved and she said she did not deserve to die.

The case was adjourned to allow an independent medical expert to assess the child.

The court heard today the independent expert found it was hard to argue that the best interests of the child would be served by resuscitation and ventilation.

He said the best option would be to allow the child to go home to be cared for.

The expert said if resuscitation and ventilation had to be carried out, then it would mean the baby's condition had deteriorated.

He said such invasive treatment would not prolong her life for long.

He said the harms that could be caused would be anxiety, pain and discomfort and the benefits were hard to identify.

The baby has suffered from epilepsy, has trouble breathing, has sight and hearing problems and cannot swallow.

A doctor told the court today, that the baby could die in the peace, dignity and comfort of her parents' arms.

She said the baby could die in pain if CPR was administered.

The doctor said the baby's parents were 100% dedicated to their daughter.