Northampton hospital ends baby's life support

A severely disabled baby boy has died after a High Court judge gave Northampton General Hospital permission to turn off his life-support treatment. Image copyright BURGESS VON THUNEN
Image caption A High Court judge gave Northampton General Hospital permission to turn off the life-support treatment

A severely disabled baby has died after a High Court judge ruled his life-support treatment should be stopped, against his parents' wishes.

The three-and-a-half-month old boy had been on a ventilator since he was 18-minutes-old.

Northampton General Hospital asked for permission to stop providing life-support treatment.

Mr Justice Hayden ruled in favour after hearing evidence at the Family Division of the High Court in London.

The baby's parents had objected to the request, and his 22-year-old mother wept as the decision was announced.

Mr Justice Hayden said neither the baby nor his parents could be named.


The boy suffered from the most severe type of spinal muscular atrophy - a hereditary condition that affects nerve cells connecting muscles to the brain and spinal cord, Mr Justice Hayden was told.

Specialists said the condition was degenerative and incurable, and the burden of treatment placed on the boy outweighed any benefit.

The judge was told the child was put on a ventilator 18 minutes after being born and had been in an intensive care unit all of his life with no prospect of moving him on.

The boy's mother and father argued that he experienced pleasure and said his life had not yet reached the point where it should end.

His mother said he smiled every day and was "amazing" and a "fighter".

A lawyer representing the hospital said the child died late on Saturday.

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