Monday 16 September 2019

Hospital asks High Court to make order allowing it to treat very ill young child despite father's objections

Ill child in hospital. Stock image
Ill child in hospital. Stock image
Sick child in hospital. Stock image

Aodhan O Faolain and Ray Managh

The High Court has been asked to make orders allowing a very ill young child to undergo certain a severe course of medical treatment aimed at saving his life. 

The child - who cannot be identified for legal reasons - is suffering from a potentially fatal illness, and has been receiving treatment for approximately a year.

The High Court heard that the child's prognosis is poor, and his chances of survival are not good.

However, his treating physicians believe that the best course of action is to continue to treat the child's illness.

The doctors have proposed that the child undergo a certain form of treatment, which has potentially strong side effects. 

 The court heard that a difference of opinion has emerged with the child's family, and the child's father is opposed to his child undergoing the treatment proposed by the doctors. 

As a result, the child's doctors are legally unable to obtain the consent required that would allow them to carry out the proposed treatments on the child.

Sick child in hospital. Stock image

Arising out of the lack of consent, the hospital where the child is being treated, represented in court by barrister Sara Jane O'Brien Bl, has asked the High Court to make the child a ward of court. 

If the court acceded to that application it would allow the child to be taken into temporary custody so his doctors could administer the prescribed treatment.

The matter was briefly mentioned before Mr Justice Tony O'Connor on Thursday, who said that the case was very sad and troubling.

The Judge granted the hospital permission to serve short notice of its motion seeking to make the child a ward of court on the relevant parties. 

The application was made on an ex-parte basis, and the judge made the motion returnable to next Tuesday's sitting of the High Court. 

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