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Grandparents: Charlotte Appears To Have Pulled Through, Again
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
March 7, 2006

PORTSMOUTH, ENGLAND--Charlotte Wyatt appears to have beaten doctors' expectations again.

Several British news services reported Tuesday that doctors at St. Mary's Hospital said the two-year-old is in stable condition and continues to improve following a bout last week with an "aggressive" viral lung infection that was filling her lungs with fluid.

Friday's Tamworth Herald quoted her paternal grandparents, David and Julie Wyatt, as saying the child seemed likely to die last Thursday, but that she improved overnight.

"She was really in danger, we thought she would die," said Julie Wyatt. "Dave and I were up all night worrying and praying."

Anticipating that Charlotte might stop breathing from the virus, doctors went to the High Court on February 23 seeking permission from Justice Mr. Hedley to leave her to die. Hedley ruled that doctors could refuse to ventilate or resuscitate Charlotte if she stopped breathing.

"The judge said that if there comes a time when Charlotte needs 100 per cent oxygen then they would switch it off and she would die," Julie Wyatt said Friday. "She reached 96 per cent and so she came close, but it's now back down to 40 per cent."

"It was lovely to see her. She has one tooth and she was so alert and smiley. She can see, she's smiling, she makes gurgling noises, and she's eating solids - she loves white chocolate. She's even putting weight on," Julie added.

"I asked the doctor if she was out of danger and he said yes, if she carries on this way."

The website maintained by Charlotte's family noted Tuesday that "Charlotte is getting stronger day by day, and today she was able to be out of the head-box and on nasal prongs for several hours."

From the time Charlotte was born three months premature on October 21, 2003, doctors at the hospital insisted that she had serious heart and lung problems, was deaf and blind, made no movement on her own and felt no sensations except constant pain. They predicted in October 2004 that she would develop a lung infection during that winter and would stop breathing. At the time, Justice Hedley agreed with the hospital that Charlotte's quality of life was "intolerable" and that it would be in her best interest to leave her to die if her breathing stopped.

Charlotte's parents, Darren and Debbie, resolved to fight to help their daughter stay alive. She has survived more than 17 months since that ruling, and thrived to the point that Justice Hedley partially reversed his earlier order four months ago. His ruling last month reinstated that order, and allows the hospital to let Charlotte die if she stops breathing on her own.

Charlotte's situation highlights a growing controversy in the United Kingdom between some members of the medical community, family members and disability rights groups over who should make decisions regarding the lives of people with certain disabilities or medical conditions.

"Fighting Back" (Tamworth Herald)
Charlotte Wyatt website


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