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Wyatt baby case to go to Court of Appeal

The case of the brain-damaged baby, Charlotte Wyatt is to go to the Court of Appeal following the High Court’s decision to uphold the decision not to resuscitate her. Charlotte’s parents are represented by Richard Stein.

Richard Stein with Debbie and Darren Wyatt outside the High Court Photo by Toby Melville (c) Reuters

25 April 2005

At a recent hearing, the High Court upheld its decision not to ventilate Charlotte Wyatt if she stops breathing. The judge gave the parents permission to take part of the case to the Court of Appeal.

Charlotte Wyatt is now 18 months old. She was born three months premature at Portsmouth hospital and is severely brain-damaged. Her parents were pleased that the judge recognised that she had made significant improvements in her overall health since the original decision was made in October. She now needs much less oxygen and sedation, is more responsive to human stimulation and is putting on weight.

The judge will review the situation later in the year

In the light of her changing condition, the judge agreed to review the situation in the autumn, but Mr & Mrs Wyatt feel that the judge has not given sufficient weight to Charlotte’s right to life and has wrongly decided what is in her best interests.

“If it’s right to have a review of her condition in the autumn, because it may improve, then surely it can’t be right to decide to let her die now. So far Charlotte has confounded all predictions.  She was expected to have died by now. In fact she is getting stronger. The decision not to ventilate shouldn’t be made now, it should be made if and when Charlotte catches an infection which would necessitate ventilation. The decision could then be made, based on the full, up to date facts.”

A working party of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics is currently undertaking a public consultation on the Ethics of Prolonging Life in Fetuses and the Newborn. Anne Winyard, partner in the clinical negligence department of Leigh Day & Co. is a member of the working party and is taking part in the consultation.

Information was correct at time of publishing. See terms and conditions for further details.

Information was correct at time of publishing. See terms and conditions for further details.

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