by Lisa Timmons August-05-2015 in Healthcare Law

On 9 July 2015, Ms Justice Iseult O’Malley ruled that an acutely ill and profoundly disabled 10 year old girl who resides in state care should not be resuscitated or receive emergency lifesaving intervention. The girl has been resident in state care since she was admitted to hospital with serious brain damage aged 4 months. She is profoundly intellectually disabled and unable to communicate verbally, she is wheelchair bound and suffers from severe spastic quadriplegia, epilepsy, scoliosis, a congenital heart condition and suffers recurrent life threatening infections.

The High Court heard that the hospital had sought the Order as it was unlikely that the girl would recover from her current condition and if she did, she would have an extremely poor quality of life and would face another life –threatening event. Her doctor wants her to return to residential care where the staff know her so that she can live out her last days in comfort and peace. The Order made means that she will receive all palliative care and should intervention be required, the court has given the doctors permission to follow their clinical judgement.

The girl’s mother, who was in court, supported the doctors’ application but noted that she did not want her daughter “pumped full of morphine unnecessarily”.

The girl, who made her First Communion last year, has been happy in residential care where she attends a special school. Ms Justice O’Malley noted that she had taken into account the doctors’ and parents’ views in making the Order and had also taken into account the child’s best interests including her illness, the length and quality of life she could expect and the suffering inherent in the course of treatment or in any possible future aggressive treatment.

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