Intended for healthcare professionals


Doctors can withhold treatment from baby, judge rules

BMJ 2017; 356 doi: (Published 16 February 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;356:j851
  1. Clare Dyer
  1. The BMJ

Doctors at Great Ormond Street children’s hospital in London will be acting lawfully if they withhold aggressive and invasive treatment from an eight month old baby with only weeks to live, a High Court judge has ruled.

The parents of the baby girl, who was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, want her to have “any procedure possible if that would prolong her life for one day,” said Ms Justice Russell.

But treatment such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation, intubation and mechanical ventilation, central venous lines, and further chest drains “are unlikely to succeed and will only cause elemental pain and distress for …

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