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Last Updated: Friday, 12 November, 2004, 13:18 GMT
Baby Luke loses fight for life
Luke Winston-Jones
Luke Winston-Jones never left hospital
A nine-month-old baby who was at the centre of a high-profile "right to life" legal case has died.

Luke Winston-Jones, who was terminally ill with heart and breathing problems, died on Friday morning.

His family has now demanded an inquiry into the care he was given at Alder Hey hospital in the hours before he died.

A trust spokesman said Luke's condition had "significantly deteriorated" and "extensive resuscitation" had proved unsuccessful.

Last month, Luke's mother Ruth, from Anglesey, north Wales, took his case to the High Court in a dispute over his future treatment.

On Friday, Ms Winston-Jones said: "It is the end of my world, I have lost my precious little boy."

She took the case to court because she wanted doctors to continue treating Luke if his condition worsened, but medical experts were concerned about the effects of further treatment.

In response to the family's call for an inquiry, a spokesperson for Alder Hey hospital in Liverpool said it could not respond to specific allegations, but "refutes allegations that Luke did not receive the best care and attention at Alder Hey."

In a statement, the hospital said senior clinicians at the trust had attempted to resuscitate Luke.

"Luke's condition had significantly deteriorated over the past 48 hours and so, despite extensive resuscitation, lasting over an hour, we were unsuccessful."

Luke Winston-Jones with his mother Ruth
Ruth Winston-Jones fought for treatment for Luke

The statement added that the trust was confident it had always acted in the best interests of Luke and had fully complied with the recent ruling from the High Court.

It read: "As this case may be the subject of a coroner's investigation, we are unable to comment further at this stage."

Luke, who had the rare Edwards Syndrome, died at Alder Hey Children's Hospital early on Friday - he had never left hospital.

Few babies who are born with the condition, which severely affects most organs of the body, survive beyond a year.

Luke was born by emergency Caesarean at a Bangor hospital, Ysbyty Gwynedd, on 30 January.

Due to his serious cardiac defects, including two holes in the heart, he was then moved to Alder Hey.

In October, the Royal Liverpool Children's NHS Trust and the North West Wales NHS Trust made an application to the High Court to declare what treatment was required and what should be withheld, in the absence of agreement between doctors and his mother.

Luke Winston-Jones
Luke was born in Bangor's Ysbyty Gwynedd in January

The judge, Dame Elizabeth Butler-Sloss, president of the High Court Family Division, heard the case.

She has since said that cases of withholding treatment were "often the most difficult cases a judge will ever have to deal with".

In the hearing, doctors argued that "aggressive treatment" would not be in Luke's best interests.

The High Court ruled that doctors could withhold mechanical ventilation, but, in a last-minute concession, decided he could still have the chance to receive cardiac massage.

Earlier this week, Ms Winston-Jones said she was looking for a private surgeon to operate on the hole in his heart.

Her solicitor Muiris Lyons, said: "We extend our very deepest sympathies to Ruth and her family. Luke was a real fighter, much loved by his mother and family.

"Understandably this is a difficult time for them and they ask that people respect their privacy."

Luke's case went to the High Court only two weeks after a judge ruled that another seriously ill baby, Charlotte Wyatt, should not be given aggressive treatment but should be allowed to die peacefully.




BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Why the case went to court



SEE ALSO:
Surgeon plea for sick baby
10 Nov 04 |  North West Wales
Doctors win right to let baby die
22 Oct 04 |  North West Wales
Q&A: Luke Winston-Jones' case
22 Oct 04 |  Health
Mother agrees baby cannot recover
21 Oct 04 |  North West Wales
Heart op baby's royal support
20 Jul 04 |  North West Wales


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