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Judge refuses request to end baby boy's treatment

Written by: Staff
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LONDON, Mar 15 (Reuters) A High Court judge today refused a request from doctors to turn off a ventilator keeping alive an 18-month-old boy with incurable spinal muscular atrophy.

The boy's parents had opposed their request, arguing that although he was severely physically disabled, the boy could still enjoy spending time with his family.

''I am not persuaded that it is currently in the best interests of (the boy) to discontinue ventilation, with the inevitable result that he would immediately die,'' Justice James Holman said.

Doctors had told the court that the boy cannot breathe for himself, has to be fed through a tube and can only move his eyebrows, feet and his fingers very slightly.

While they acknowledge that the baby, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, is not mentally impaired they say his condition will inevitably get worse and end in his total paralysis.

But the parents want their son to be allowed to return home with them.

The case was believed to be the first in which doctors had asked to allow a patient who is not in a persistent vegative state to die.

REUTERS SHR RN1956

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