High Court judge Mr Justice Mostyn ordered that a three year-old boy undergo a planned bone marrow transplant earlier this week in spite of objections by his father.
The boy, called AA in case reports, was born in an “Arab” country but has spent two whole years in a children’s hospital in England, the Independent reports. He was due to undergo a bone marrow transplant from his mother in order to treat a range of unspecified conditions.
His father, who is estranged from the boy’s mother, had initially supported the planned transplant, the paper claims, but then withdrew consent at the last minute. Doctors had begun preparation for the operation by largely switching off the boy’s immune system, leaving him highly vulnerable to fatal infection. The toddler has been living in a special sterile room within the hospital.
After the father flew over members of the boy’s family for testing, his sister was identified as a compatible match but the father then decided he longer wished her to provide the donation and claimed that the boy did not actually need the treatment.
The boy should be flown home, the claimed, a suggestion opposed by the mother. Her bone marrow is not as close a match as that of the child’s sister but should be compatible doctors say.
The hospital applied to the family courts for a ruling and the boy was made a ward of court.
At the High Court, a lawyer representing the hospital said: “The father thinks his son doesn’t need this treatment and should be returned to [the Arab country]… He has provided no medical reason and no convincing ethical reason why this treatment should not take place.”
Mr Justice Mostyn noted the absence of suitable bone marrow transplant facilities in the child’s native country, adding “even if there were, he cannot be flown there as it is highly likely he would contract an infection and die”.
He added: “This child is my ward and I cannot contemplate that.”
The jdudge continued: “The evidence seems to me that the father had, in effect, consented by sending over members of his family to see if they could be matching donors.”
The toddler had spent two thirds of his life in England, living in the hospital since November 2011. Therefore, said Mr Justice Mostyn “…he is habitually resident in this country and in these circumstances the court has jurisdiction over him.”