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Last Updated: Thursday, 21 April, 2005, 10:16 GMT 11:16 UK
Baby 'should be allowed to die'
Charlotte Wyatt
Charlotte was born with brain, lung and kidney damage
A severely brain-damaged baby should be allowed to die if she stops breathing, a High Court judge has ruled.

The parents of 18-month-old Charlotte Wyatt have lost their legal battle to overturn a court order allowing doctors not to resuscitate her.

Darren and Debbie Wyatt, from Portsmouth, had been fighting the ruling, made in October.

But Mr Justice Hedley said that the new order was not open-ended and remained subject to review.

I am quite clear that it would not be in Charlotte's best interests to die in the course of futile aggressive treatment
Mr Justice Hedley

Doctors said Charlotte has "no feelings other than continuing pain", and earlier the court had heard how experts believed her life was "intolerable".

But the Wyatts believe Charlotte is improving.

Passing the ruling Mr Hedley said: "I am quite clear that it would not be in Charlotte's best interests to die in the course of futile aggressive treatment."

He said that if she should stop breathing all treatment up to, but not including, intubation and ventilation, would be in Charlotte's best interests, "but nothing further".

Charlotte was born three months premature at St Mary's Hospital, Portsmouth, in October 2003, with serious brain, lung and kidney damage.

In October doctors at the hospital won the legal right not to resuscitate her.

But it now seems that Charlotte could survive for a considerable time, possibly even years, but the medical prognosis for her quality of life is bleak.

How Charlotte's parents reacted to the ruling

Q&A: The Charlotte Wyatt case
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09 Feb 05 |  Hampshire

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