Parents lose desperate battle to prolong boy’s life


Parents of a little boy diagnosed with cancer have lost a High Court case against doctors.
The mother and father launched a right-to-life case after doctors said they wanted to place him on an end-of-life care programme because nothing further could be done for him.
Mr Justice MacDonald, sitting in the High Court, was told by medics that there was now no hope of a cure.
Doctors said that palliative care that put the focus on easting the boy’s pain was now the kindest course of action to take.
However, his desperate mother and father launched a fight in the High Court saying that doctors had no right to pre-determine their boy’s death.
They said their son had a “right to life” and medics were not respecting his human rights.
However, a specialist oncologist told the court that the boy was suffering with a “huge, painful tumour” which he said was growing fast.
Medics said the little boy was in pain which would soon become both unremitting and excruciating if they were not allowed to manage it with palliative chemotherapy and drugs.
However, the boy’s mother, who is a former nurse, said she disagreed with the position doctors were setting out and thought that her son’s tumour was actually only growing slowly.
She said she was not a parent “in denial” and that her son’s human rights were currently not being taken into consideration.
The mother also said that she had grave concerns about the side effects of chemotherapy treatment and the cocktail of painkillers that her son could be given.
Their court case shows the terrible decisions faced by parents whose youngsters have been diagnosed with incurable cancer.
Mr MacDonald said: “Parents faced with a terminal illness befalling their child have to deal with the horror in the best way they can.”
He said both the mother and father in the case were loving parents who “were simply trying to stay upright in the darkening storm which has engulfed their family”.
However, he agreed with medics that the youngster’s prognosis was such that his cancer was curable and that the treatment plan put forward should go ahead.
The boy’s father could be heard crying as the judge laid out the reasons for his ruling.
Reporters were allowed to attend the hearing, although not to publish anything which might identify the boy.