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Monday, September 28, 1998 Published at 11:53 GMT 12:53 UK


Health

Internet appeal baby dies

Baby L has died after eight months fighting for her life

The New Zeland baby who was the subject of an internet appeal to save her life has died.

The child, known as Baby L or Leaney, was born seven weeks prematurely in Auckland, New Zealand, and was kept on a life support system.

She was suffering from two rare conditions affecting her brain, chest wall muscles and limb formation. She was also showing signs of developing cerebral palsy.

Baby L's parents hired a lawyer, Chrisopher Harder, to set up an internet site to appeal for expert help to keep her alive.

However, Auckland Healthcare said it was "futile and inhumane" to keep her on a life support system.

The case went to court and on Friday the High Court ruled that Baby L should be taken off life support.

It said that her parents did not have the right to veto doctors' expert advice.

Execution

Mr Harder argued that to take her off the life support system was equivalent to executing her. He added that she showed signs of enjoyment when she was cuddled.

Her mother, who has three other children, stated that she could not imagine life without her.

The child, aged eight months, was taken home from the National Women's Hospital, Auckland, on Saturday in an incubator with a respirator attached.

She died hours later in her mother's arms.

Mr Harder said: "It was probably the saddest thing I have ever seen, but she died with dignity.

"The doctor was as compassionate a man as I've ever seen and I don't think her life will be in vain because, from the response on the internet, a lot of people have already learnt compassion."



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