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Joshua Rozenberg
Monday 2nd November 2009
Why a Sentient Baby Should be Allowed to Die

The hospital trust seeking permission to withdraw medical treatment that is keeping a one-year old child alive explained its reasoning today.

As I reported yesterday, the boy -- who may be identified only as RB -- was born with a rare neuromuscular condition and has never been able to breathe for more than a few minutes without a ventilator.

Michael Mylonas, counsel for the trust, told Mr Justice McFarlane that RB's condition was not thought to affect his brain function.

The court might be told that this should weigh in favour of maintaining his life.

But, said counsel, it would make RB's condition all the more unbearable as he glimpsed what others could do.

The trust was seeking permission to withdraw  the baby's life-support "to allow him a peaceful, calm and dignified death", Mr Mylonas said.

Even with a tracheostomy, RB's quality of life was such that he he would continue to lead a "miserable, sad and pitiful existence".

The hearing is likely to conclude next week.


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About Joshua Rozenberg

Joshua Rozenberg is an independent legal commentator who presents Law in Action on BBC Radio 4.

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