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Re K (a child)

The withdrawal of life-prolonging treatment was in the best interests of a five-month-old child with a severe neuromuscular disorder who was experiencing a pitiful existence in hospital.

26 May 2006

The claimant NHS trust sought a declaration enabling its medical staff to remove from the abdomen of the first defendant child (K) a tube necessary to maintain her nutrition, and to move K to a regime of palliative care in order to allow her to die peacefully within a short period of time. K had been born prematurely with an inherited condition called congenital myotonica dystrophy, a neuromuscular disorder causing chronic muscle weakness. She experienced severe feeding difficulties and, at the age of one month, had to have a line inserted in her abdomen in order to continue artificial intravenous feeding, a process called total parenteral nutrition (TPN). A consultant neuro-developmental paediatrician was of the view that K, who was five-and-a-half months old, was in the worst category of the condition and that the issue was not whether she would survive but how soon she was likely to die. The consultant in neo-natal medicine who was caring for K concluded that she fell within cate...

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