Life support 'futile' for 18-month-old baby who suffered brain damage after choking on plastic cap
Doctors have been given permission to stop providing life support treatment to an 18-month-old boy who suffered brain damage after choking on a plastic cap at home.
A judge today approved the withdrawal of "mechanical ventilation" after specialists told how the boy is in a "deep coma and completely unresponsive", and said treatment is futile.
Mr Justice Hayden, who analysed the case at a hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London, said the pain the child's parents are suffering is probably "too acute" for most people to imagine.
Doctors told the judge the boy would die quite quickly once life support treatment stops.
The judge said neither the boy, who went into cardiac arrest after the cap lodged in his throat in February, nor his location could be identified in media reports.
But he said officials at the King's College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, which is based in London and has responsibility for the youngster's care, had asked for the withdrawal of treatment to be approved.
Mr Justice Hayden said the boy's father supported the trust's application.
The youngster's mother, who has a "deep-seated" religious faith, has not felt "able to participate in that decision" and wanted a judge to decide.
"In February, when he was only 15 months old, tragedy struck him and his family," said Mr Justice Hayden.
"It came out of nowhere. He choked on a small plastic medicine cap whilst at home with his mum."
Mr Justice Hayden added: "All of us - doctors, lawyers, judges, parents - try to empathise... But the truth, I suspect, is that the pain of this trauma is too acute for most of us really to try to imagine."