Doctors to let sick British baby die after dispute

  • Baby has rare condition, unable to breathe unaided
  • Mum, doctors had wanted ventilator switched off
  • Dad has agreed it's best to let baby die

A SERIOUSLY ill baby at the centre of a court battle between his parents in Britain will be allowed to die after his father dropped his objection to switching off his ventilator. The one-year-old's mother and his doctors wanted to switch off the ventilator keeping him alive in order to stop his suffering. Baby RB's father, who is separated from the baby's mother, had challenged this in London's High Court on the grounds that his son can still see, hear, feel and recognise his parents, but has now dropped his opposition. "All of the parties in court now agree that it would be in RB's best interests for the course suggested by the doctors to be followed,'' judge Andrew McFarlane told the court, as the baby's parents wept. "`It is, I suspect, impossible for those of us to whom such an event has not happened to do more than guess at the impact of it upon these two young parents.'' He said that the outcome was the "only tenable one for RB'' and described it as "sad but in my view inevitable''. The boy is thought to have congenital myasthenic syndrome, a rare neuromuscular condition that severely limits his ability to breathe, move his limbs or make facial expressions. He has a feeding tube in one nostril and another tube in the other nostril connected to the ventilator that lets him breathe. He has been on the ventilator since he was born in October last year. A joint statement issued by lawyers on both sides said that RB's father was now "satisfied that the benefits of further medical treatment are sadly no longer in RB's best interests''. "This has been an agonisingly difficult decision,'' it added. Expert witnesses in the court case, which has been running for just over a week, said the baby had a normal brain but an immobile body. They voiced concern that this meant he could not show if his treatment was causing him pain.