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Last Updated: Friday, 28 January, 2005, 15:33 GMT
Court rejects baby Charlotte plea
Darren and Debbie Wyatt with baby Charlotte
Darren and Debbie Wyatt with baby Charlotte in 2004 (Photo: Solent News via 2dayUK)
The parents of a seriously-ill baby have failed to get a court order lifted giving doctors permission not to resuscitate her if she stops breathing.

Darren Wyatt, 33, and wife Debbie, 23, of Portsmouth, must now bring evidence to a further hearing on the future of 15-month-old Charlotte.

They still hope to prove the baby's condition has "dramatically improved".

Last year, a judge agreed Charlotte's quality of life was so poor doctors could choose not to resuscitate her.

Charlotte alive

Justice Hedley gave Mr and Mrs Wyatt permission on Friday to bring up-to-date expert evidence to court, at a hearing before Easter, which they hope will prove their case.

The judge said he was "delighted" by the improvements observed in Charlotte since he granted doctors the declaration last year.

"Nobody who knows this case can derive anything other than pleasure from that," he said.

David Wolfe, counsel for the parents, reminded the judge that in last October's hearing the baby had been described as experiencing great pain and distress, no pleasure, and needing substantial sedation.

Her head was in an oxygen box and her quality of life was described as "terrible".

"But the position has moved on," said Mr Wolfe.

He said the Wyatts now wanted the chance to amass new evidence from neurologists that she was improving "and that should be done with Charlotte alive and not Charlotte passed away".

No brain growth

Mr Justice Hedley had ruled on 7 October that any further "aggressive" treatment, even if necessary to prolong Charlotte's life, was not in her best interests.

The court had heard medical evidence, disputed by the parents, that Charlotte - who was born three months premature at St Mary's Hospital, Portsmouth, in October 2003, with serious brain, lung and kidney damage - "had no feelings other than continuing pain".

On Friday, Robin Barda, who is representing the child's interests, said it was clear that Charlotte was in less distress than when the order was made.

But he said a doctor who reported the baby now had some good days also said there had been no brain growth.

David Lock, representing the Portsmouth hospital, said doctors believed that the outward signs of improvement were caused by getting the treatment regime right rather than manifestations of an improvement in her condition.

Why the courts have decided to uphold the decision

Q&A: The Charlotte Wyatt case
08 Oct 04 |  Health
Judge rules on right to life baby
17 Dec 04 |  Hampshire

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