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Australia Court rules doctors can operate on baby's brain against parents' wishes

06:06  12 july  2018
06:06  12 july  2018 Source:   brisbanetimes.com.au

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The baby , suffering from a severe form of epilepsy, had received traditional remedies from his parents ’ home country, including holy water and prayers by a His doctors told the court they were of the “firm opinion” that the only way to preserve his brain and give him the best chance of a future life was to

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The boy, known as “baby K”, was born with a brain abnormality that causes him to have frequent and serious convulsions.

He has had alternative treatments including cannabis oil and a ketogenic diet, as well as conventional medical treatments such as anticonvulsive drugs, some of which have had serious side-effects and effectively sedated him.

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A JUDGE has today ruled that doctors treating brain -damaged tot Isaiah Haastrup can switch off his life support — despite the desperate pleas of his parents . The High Court ruling means medics could end the 11-month-old' s care at King’ s College Hospital, south London, within days.

Doctors argued that the eight-month-old baby ' s brain damage is irreversible. A High Court judge has given doctors in the UK permission to withdraw the life support of a baby boy – against the wishes of his parents .

The child’s social worker told the court he had also received traditional remedies from his parents’ home country, including treatment with holy water, prayers by a monk and traditional ceremonies in which smoke has been administered to him at the parents’ request.

But the court found all the treatments had been “ineffective”, resulting in numerous admissions into the paediatric intensive care unit.

Baby K’s seizures are felt only on the left side of his brain, but as time has gone on, the seizures have begun to affect the other “good” side of his brain, the court heard.

His doctors told the court they were of the “firm opinion” that the only way to preserve his brain and give him the best chance of a future life was to perform a functional hemispherectomy.

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A High Court judge has ruled that the life support of 11-month-old Isaiah Haastrup can be withdrawn by doctors , after being told further treatment would be “futile, burdensome and not in his best interests”. Doctors from King’ s College Hospital said the baby had suffered “catastrophic” brain damage at birth

The baby , suffering from a severe form of epilepsy, had received traditional remedies from his parents ’ home country, including holy water and prayers by a monk.

They described it as a “serious operation” that would involve disconnecting the two sides of his brain to preserve the intact “good” side, with the aim of preventing or reducing the child’s constant seizures.

K's parents refused to consent to the operation so the matter ended up in court.

"That is not because they do not love their baby – they clearly do – but because they retain hope that traditional remedies might provide what might be described as a miracle cure. This is in accordance with their sincerely held religious and cultural beliefs,'' the judgement stated.

In her ruling, Justice Roslyn Atkinson said she had “thought long and hard about it” because it was not the parents’ preference.

“He is their child, and it is they who will be bringing him up," she said.

"It is they who will be with him before the operation and be with him while he recuperates and once he is discharged from hospital.

“But I am satisfied that the operation is in his best interests, and … that their love for their child and involvement in his physical, emotional and spiritual development will stay with him through the days and weeks, months and years to come.”

Justice Atkinson authorised the boy’s medical team to perform the procedure and to undertake any necessary care and intervention including a pre-operative MRI, blood transfusions and the placement of a shunt in the event he develops hydrocephalus after surgery.

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