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Family Law

The leading authority on all aspects of family law

21 APR 2005

MEDICAL TREATMENT: Wyatt v Portsmouth NHS Trust and Wyatt (by her Guardian CAFCASS) [2005] EWHC 693 (Fam)

(21 April 2005; Hedley J; Family Division) [2005] 2 FLR 480

The parents of a severely brain-damaged child suffering from a chronic respiratory disease which made her dependent on oxygen from a head box or oxygen mask, applied to have declarations that there should be 'no resuscitation' discharged. The child, now 18 months old, had unexpectedly survived the winter, her oxygen dependency had reduced from 100% to 50% and she was now able to respond to loud noises and to track movement. In the event of respiratory collapse all treatment up to but not including intubation and ventilation would be in the child's best interests, but nothing further. The child's day to day life was not intolerable any longer, and the medical professionals agreed that every reasonable step short of major invasive treatment should be employed as necessary to sustain life. However, the child was most unlikely to survive the expected respiratory crisis no matter what aggressive intervention was tried, and such intervention would imperil a peaceful death. If she did survive such intervention, it would be at the likely cost of significant deterioration in her condition to the point where life would again be intolerable on a day to day basis.

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