Monday 2 November 2009

Court should rule in favour of life in Baby RB case

The BBC reports that the father of "Baby RB", a disabled boy, is opposing attempts by a hospital trust to deny life-sustaining treatment to his son. The trust argues that Baby RB's quality of life is so low due to congenital myasthenic syndrome (CMS) that it is not in his best interests to be kept alive.

Anthony Ozimic, SPUC's communications mananger, told the media this afternoon:
"Whenever there is doubt about life-sustaining medical treatment, everyone should act with a presumption in favour of life. The value of a person's life, and the protection due to that life, should never be judged according to opinions about the person's quality of life. An ill or disabled person's life should never be regarded as not worth living. Doctors should not confuse the possible burdens of a medical intervention with the priceless worth of a person's life."
Janet Thomas of No Less Human, a group within SPUC which represents disabled people, also told the media this afternoon:
"Some children who contracted polio in the 1950s were left unable to breathe independently and had to spend the rest of their lives in an iron lung. There was no question in the 1950s of the poor quality of life of polio patients who could not breathe independently affecting their entitlement to treatment to help them continue their lives. A well-known example is John Prestwich MBE, who was paralysed at the age of 17 from the chin down, and has spent all his life in an iron lung. He now usually uses a much lighter turtleshell device, which does the same job and enables him to be more mobile.  Why should not Baby RB have access to modern technology in the 21st century and lead a life as normal and happy as he is able? The fact that an individual's life would necessarily be short does not justify our deliberately killing him. In fact, it could be fairly argued that the shortness of life demands special care to make the most of that brief life."
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