Something surely has gone horribly wrong in this Country when we have situations when ordinary caring, responsible, parents are pitched in our High Courts against powerful hospitals and the mighty authorities, regarding the welfare and indeed lives of their own children, don’t you think?
The latest tragedy to hit the international headlines is the distressing case involving the broken-hearted parents of their nearly 2 year old son Alfie Evans, a ”warrior” who finally “grew his wings” and died at Liverpool’s Alder Hey children’s hospital just two weekends ago, after the Courts, following a protracted legal battle, had decided to allow medical withdrawal of life support, to let him slip-away to his maker [but he lived for 5 days longer].
The poor mite had contracted a rare degenerative brain decease that had resulted in a semi-vegetative state without prognosis. However, his parents wanted him to live for longer, and while his UK hospital doctors had given-up because they said there was no hope of him getting better, other hospitals overseas were willing to take him and let him live further – the High Court, against the parents’ wishes rejected all such offers of and decreed that it was in the boy’s “best interests” simply to be allowed to die.
This was just the latest case where the State has stepped-in to override the wishes of loving committed parents regarding the medical treatment of a child. Unfortunately it is unlikely to be the last.
An equally distressing situation in the public eye concerned baby Charlie Gard, of nearly one of age but suffering from a rare genetic disorder, who died ten months ago at London’s Great Ormond Street hospital after the doctors and the lawyers had decided that he also had to die, as it was “in his best interests”. This child had also been offered help by other hospitals overseas, but again the Courts had decreed that such aid, desperately sought-out by the parents, would cruelly be rejected and so rode roughshod over the parents’ deep and sound personal instincts for their child’s survival. [The parents had managed to raise an amazing £1.3million that would have more than paid for New York City hospital neurologist Dr Michio Hirano to provide experimental, revolutionary nucleoside bypass therapy treatment for Charlie that he believed could save him]
[See post “The tragic tale of little mite ‘Charlie Gard’ – a story of unknown pygmy ‘dedicated’ parents facing-up against a famous giant ‘compassionless’ hospital?” August 1, 2017 by dadman007]
Well, ‘the system’ is badly and fundamentally flawed when it results in the predominately caring medical profession deciding the fate of a child together with the authorities, acting as a “terminator” rather than a “protector, isn’t it? How has this come about then? Well, the root cause lies at the feet of the UK’s 1989 Children Act that sought to promote children’s welfare; while indeed its foundation starting place was that children are best ‘cared for’ by their parents, it nevertheless made provision for state intervention when parents failed to safeguard them. That can happen when there is evidence of neglect, or of course when for religious, or other reasons, parents will not cooperate with medics to provide life-saving treatment for their child.
Now, the way the law works in Britain regarding medical treatment is that adults have the absolute right to decide if they are willing to undergo any proposed intervention – they have to give written “consent” and can withhold that whoever they are, whenever they want, why ever they choose, and whatever the likely consequences. Naturally, parents equally exercise that right on behalf of their under-age children; however the law exercises the Act’s provisions to step-in when parents act irresponsibly. Furthermore, adults are free to privately seek medical treatment at other hospitals or overseas facilities, as they wish, without hint or hindrance from the State, aren’t they? THAT LATITUDE IS NO LONGER BEING APPLIED TO THEIR CHILDREN, HOWEVER?
Equally, doctors and hospitals cannot be dictated to by patients, to be given any such treatment that doctors won’t prescribe, and that includes having life-support provided, as of a right, doesn’t it?
THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO SUGGESTION, NEITHER BY THE MEDICS, NOR THE COURTS, NOR HAS ANY STATUTORY BODY, NOR ANY OTHER AGENCY CLAIMED THAT EITHER OF THESE BABIES’ PARENTS IN THE ABOVE CASES HAVE BEEN ANYTHING BUT LOVING, CARING, COMMITTED, DILIGENT, DEDICATED MUMS & DADS, SEEKING THE VERY BEST FOR THEIR BELOVED, BUT VERY ILL AND SICK CHILD, YET THE STATE UNLATERALLY WITHDREW THEIR BASIC PARENTIAL RIGHTS TO CARE FOR THEIR BABY.
This is astoundingly sheer arrogance of the State to assume ultimate authority over someone’s child, which is morally wrong, lacks human decency, and was NOT what the law was intended for, was it? NO, and Britain is neither Lenin’s Russia phasing-out and weakening of the family, nor Stalin’s purge removing children from deemed dissenters, nor like Maoist China under the Cultural Revolution with policies to breakdown the family structure, is it – yet?
Parents should not ever be treated as seditious again by the NHS and the Courts.
The law needs changing in the UK [as it is being in American States (‘Simon’s Law’ – a marker for parents’ rights, ensuring that the final say over a child’s fight for life will remain with the family where it belongs)]
Doctors here are rightly widely respected as dedication and knowledgeable professionals, who regularly save lives, but their place is in a Hospital doing just that, and NOT in a Court of law proposing the passing a death sentence on a baby, isn’t it? NO.
[In Coventry, ten years ago four specialists declared that car-crash victim 17-year-old Steven Thorpe was brain dead with no chance of surviving so wanted to switch off his life support machine – but his parents refused to give up hope and persisted. He was taken-out of his chemically-induced 2-week coma, he woke-up, and within three months he was out of hospital. and recovering.
Just remember as well that medical negligence compensation provision for the last year has soared to over £65billion, which is almost double that of 2011 – mistakes get made, eh?].
It is well recognised that GOD generally holds the decision of life or death over human beings – that is why we don’t allow ‘mercy-killing’ in this Country, even in the most distressing of cases, while we are comfortable for vets to put our pets to sleep, when their suffering is deemed to be too great.
In certain extraordinary situations, there may inevitably come a time when doctors have reached the end of THEIR road regarding further treatment that they are able to give or offer a patient, as basically they are wanting of fresh ideas, with no effective drugs to try. There is no shame or blame in that, but when a child is involved, it is at that point that they have fully discharged their duty of care to him or her, and should return that responsibility to the distressed parents, instead of the child being held prisoner by the NHS, surely? If their decision is indeed to seek responsible treatment and care elsewhere, so be it. And if that further help can be found overseas (without further liability to this Country), just NOBODY, nor ANYTHING should stand in their way, should it?
Well, our highest courts seen to think otherwise, and consider it acceptable to deny parents their natural human rights to look after their own child, even in its last hours, and moreover when proposed hospital treatment here includes withdrawal of food, designed so starvation results, eh? There also seems to be a Little Englander nationalist attitude by judges that if this Country cannot provide treatment for a critically-ill child then that’s it, and other counties can butt-out, however well qualified or experienced the doctors, or respected or famous the proposed hospitals – just WHY is that for heaven’s sake?
[When the British medical profession has given up all medical hope on a child, then the system needs to rely on the parent’s instincts and love and prayers to determine what is best for their child, and if further treatment should be accepted from abroad, or indeed where their child is to die if that is to be the final outcome, surely?]