Court Rejects Appeal By Charlotte Wyatt's Parents
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
August 26, 2005
LONDON, ENGLAND--Despite testimony suggesting that Charlotte Wyatt's condition is improving, the Court of Appeal on Thursday rejected an effort by the 22-month-old's parents intended to have a hospital provide life-saving measures if she stops breathing.
The three-member panel said, however, that a review of the case should be "accelerated" and scheduled a hearing for that review to take place next month.
Darren Wyatt told the Daily Mail that he and his wife, Debbie, would continue to fight for their daughter's life.
"It is quite possible that by the time the legal review comes around Charlotte will be well enough to go home, and the hospital will end up looking very silly," Mr. Wyatt said. "Meanwhile we have this death sentence hanging over her."
"When the High Court made the original ruling last year, they said it would be wrong to resuscitate Charlotte because of her quality of life. But now the doctors accept her quality of life has improved, so why have they not lifted the order?"
Charlotte was born three months premature in October 2003. Doctors at St. Mary's Hospital in Portsmouth insist that she has serious heart and lung problems, is deaf and blind, makes no movement on her own and feels no sensations except constant pain. They had predicted last October that she would develop a lung infection during the winter and would stop breathing.
The High Court's Mr. Justice Hedley agreed with the hospital that it would be most humane to leave her to die if she stops breathing. In April, another High Court judge backed the order, ruling that "futile aggressive treatment" was not in Charlotte's best interest.
Charlotte's parents claim that their daughter smiles, reaches out to them, tries to talk, likes to watch her toys, and now stays outside for up to 40 minutes at a time.
Last week, the Wyatts received a letter from the hospital admitting that the girl's condition had improved significantly. The hospital wrote, however, that her improvement did not change the doctors' opinion that she should not receive life-saving treatment if her breathing stops.
Charlotte's case and those of similar children highlight the disagreement between disability rights groups and medical professionals over who should determine the quality of life of people with disabilities, and who should decide whether patients -- particularly newborns -- with certain disabilities or medical conditions should die.
"Parents fail to lift order on Charlotte" (Birmingham Post)