Brain Damaged Toddler Dies

6 October 2014, 18:12 | Updated: 6 October 2014, 18:14

A brain damaged 17 month old boy has died in a London hospital after a High Court judge ruled his life support should be switched off.

Ms Justice Russell made a ruling on Tuesday 30 September 2014 following a hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London. She said the little boy could not be identified.

Specialists said the youngster had suffered ''profound irreversible brain damage''. They said it was in his best interests for ''life-sustaining intensive care'' to be withdrawn.

But his parents disagreed.

A lawyer who represents the little boy's mother and father said his death had left them devastated.

Lawyer Yogi Amin, who works for law firm Irwin Mitchell, explained: "The family are of course devastated to have lost a precious life in their family and have asked for privacy at this incredibly difficult time to grieve for their son."

News of the little's boy's death was announced today by a member of a legal team appointed by the court to represent his interests.

The King's College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust - which runs the Kings College Hospital where the boy was cared for - had asked the judge to rule that life-support treatment could be withdrawn.

Ms Justice Russell had barred journalists from identifying the trust while the little boy was alive - in case the information led to him being identified.

Michael Marrinan, the trust's executive medical director, today said he was sorry that an agreement about the "best course of action" had not been reached.

"Decisions about what is best for patients in circumstances such as this are always difficult," he said.

"This baby spent his whole life in our intensive care unit and after a long period of assessment by our doctors and independent experts, we determined that he did not have hope of improving.

"We are sorry that we could not reach an agreement with his parents about the best course of action to take.

"We would like to extend our deepest sympathies to his parents for the loss of their son."

Ms Justice Russell had announced her decision on September 30 after hearing evidence the day before.

The judge said she had gauged what was in the boy's best interests after balancing medical evidence against the views of his parents.

She said the case was ''unbearably sad''.

Ms Justice Russell said she had concluded that medical intervention was sustaining life but providing ''no other benefit'' and added: ''Very sadly and with great reluctance, I give permission to withdraw ventilation.''

She said such a move would inevitably lead to the boy's death.

The youngster's mother had wept as the judge announced her decision.

Ms Justice Russell had said there had been ''multiple failures'' at one stage of the little boy's care.

A lawyer representing the trust had told the judge that the little boy had been born prematurely by emergency Caesarean section in ''poor condition''.

Claire Watson said he had required resuscitation and ventilation at birth.

Ms Watson said in late 2013 he had suffered an ''acute cardio-respiratory deterioration'' which required him to be ''mechanically ventilated once again''.

She had also indicated that something had ''gone wrong'' - but had not given detail.

The judge said there had been ''multiple failures in the multi-disciplinary team caring for him''.

And she said the little boy had gone into a period of cardiac arrest lasting for about 20 minutes.

Ms Watson had told the court that an investigation had been carried out and said the ''trust have endeavoured to be entirely transparent about what has gone wrong''.

The judge accepted that the trust had been ''transparent'' and ''has not tried to cover anything up''.

But she said what had happened had ''affected the way his parents feel about his treatment - as it would''.