Sunday, November 15, 2009

What Would Happen In a Case like this Under HEALTH CARE REFORM?

London, England (CNN) -- A severely ill toddler at the center of a legal battle between his parents has died days after his father agreed to switch off his ventilator.

The 13-month-old boy, known as Baby RB, suffered from congenital myasthenic syndrome, a rare genetic condition that means he cannot breathe on his own.

Cristopher Cuddihee, a solicitor who represents the father, confirmed the baby's death early Sunday but did not provide any more details.

The baby's father had been battling his mother and the hospital in London's High Court because they wanted the child's life support switched off "in his best interests." He disagreed, saying the baby could play and recognize his parents. The father withdrew his objection Tuesday and allowed the ventilator to be switched off.

The hospital defended its stance in a statement last week, saying the baby's birth defect "causes severe muscle weakness, feeding and respiratory problems, and the disease is progressive."

Baby RB's lungs filled with fluid every few hours, giving him the sensation he is choking and causing the child to suffer, lawyers representing the hospital said in court November 2.

Ultimately, the father agreed with the mother and the hospital that the best thing was for the baby to die "in a planned way, with the administration of a large dose of sedative, the removal of the ventilation tube and his consequent death," Judge Andrew McFarlane said Tuesday.

The baby's parents, who are separated, cannot be named because of a court order protecting their privacy.

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