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Hard luck, my little lass. It's not in your best interest to breathe.

By Diogenes (articles ) | Aug 25, 2005

The parents of a brain-damaged baby in the UK have lost their appeal of a court order that rules she should be allowed to die if she stops breathing. The doctors, not the parents, have the call. Here speaks the spokeswoman for the company that owns the hospital:

"Our doctors and nurses, who have spent so much time caring for Charlotte, share the pleasure of her parents that she has some sense of sight, some sense of hearing and that she is showing signs of improvement with her breathing.

"However, Portsmouth Hospital Trust is content that the Court of Appeal today has upheld the right of our clinicians not to ventilate Charlotte if they judge it would not be in her best interests.

"We would assure her parents, the courts and the public as a whole that indeed our doctors and nurses will continue to give Charlotte the best possible quality of care for the foreseeable future."

Charlotte's parents have the assurances of the physicians' billing service that "the best" will be done for their baby -- death not excluded. Now who could object to that?

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  • Posted by: - Aug. 26, 2005 2:17 PM ET USA

    Another fact: all the court (not the state) has decided is that doctors are not obliged to resuscitate Charlotte if, for the fourth time, she were to stop breathing. The thought that the baby's life is not worth living was no part of my reasoning. Nor did I imply that she should be deprived of basic care. The child has required intensive care nursing, living in an oxygen box because of severe respiratory and neurological disabilities, for the past 22 months. Such care is unavoidably limited.

  • Posted by: Fr. William - Aug. 26, 2005 11:37 AM ET USA

    Benedictusoblatus: Thanks. Indeed, we do not HAVE TO go to extra-ordinary measures to keep someone alive (eg: ventilator), but the FAMILY should decide this, not some government-run hospital & their bookkeeper. Also, we need to at least administer food/water if the person can assimilate them... Napolean: Can "the state" also deny someone food, shelter, water if it "thinks" a certain person's life is near an end, not worth living, compared to another person's life that "the state" evaluates?

  • Posted by: - Aug. 26, 2005 1:29 AM ET USA

    As a nurse who has worked with MANY brain damaged children AND adults over my 37+ yrs of working in health care total, it saddens me immensely to see this happening. This is PRECISELY why I do not want to see national health care, and why gov't involvement in health care scares the living daylights out of me! When we have courts and hospitals/doctors deciding someone's life is not worthy of life... God help us, it is a repeat of T4 in Germany. Why can't people SEE this as the evil it IS???

  • Posted by: benedictusoblatus - Aug. 25, 2005 5:08 PM ET USA

    I'm not familiar with the particulars of this case, but if a person is "brain damaged" to the point of requiring ventilator support for an indefinite period of time it is certainly permissable to remove that support and allow the person to die. This is not euthanasia. This is not starvation ala Terry Schiavo. There exists a concept of medical futility which should be considered in the care of critically ill patients. But again, I have no idea if this would apply in this case.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 25, 2005 4:06 PM ET USA

    Commentators should get one fact clear: baby Charlotte is not being cared for at the expense of her parents but at the expense of the British taxpayer, in a National Health Service Hospital. So comments about Hilary Clinton having shares and physicians' billing service are ridiculously irrelevant. A severely damaged patient who benefits little from scarce communal resources can reasonably be deprived of those resources if others, currently in need of them, would derive greater benefit from them.

  • Posted by: Fr. William - Aug. 25, 2005 2:43 PM ET USA

    Not only the state, but individual hospitals can now determine who is worthy of living and who is worthy of being kiled... Just wondering: Would Hilary Clinton have any stock in this hospital? Didn't she totally propose a government-run health "care" package at some point in her career? Oh, and it does take a family to raise a child; but we can we now say that it takes a village (state/hospital) to kill one...

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