Future medical treatment of a mentally disabled toddler should be limited to a palliative care, doctors have told the High Court.
They claim that the unnamed two year-old is “profoundly neurologically disabled”, does not giggle when tickled and is “largely unresponsive”. Restricting future treatment to the relief of pain and discomfort would be in his best interests, the NHS Trust claimed before Mrs Justice Parker. “Invasive” life-saving treatment would achieve little and only distress the toddler.
A barrister for the NHS Trust said the boy had spent much of his life in hospital and his condition was deteriorating.
“His quality of life is very poor”, she explained. “He has very little if any awareness of his environment.”
“He used to smile and giggle when played with and tickled. He no longer does that.”
But the boy’s parents disagree. They insist that he enjoys physical contact with them and say all options for treatment should be kept open.
The parents’ counsel said:
“The parents take issue with the description of their son’s quality of life as described by the clinicians. They visit him on a daily basis and are clear that he responds to their presence. He enjoys being held and cuddled and bathed and massaged. He responds to and enjoys music.”
The boy himself was represented in court by representatives of Cafcass.
A ruling is expected in May, The Independent reports.
Photo by Michael Verhoef via Flickr