U.K. Judge Won’t Overturn Order for Baby Charlotte’s Euthanasia

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 21, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

U.K. Judge Won’t Overturn Order for Baby Charlotte’s Euthanasia Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
April 21
, 2005

Portsmouth, England (LifeNews.com) — A British judge has refused to overturn a court order allowing doctors to passively euthanize a severely disabled 18 month-old girl by refusing further treatment. The decision upholds an October 2004 decision allowing doctors at a Portsmouth hospital to deny lifesaving medical care.

Charlotte Wyatt was born three months premature and has never left the hospital. She has brain damage and injuries to her lungs and kidneys.

Despite her condition, her parents, Darren and Debbie Wyatt, of Portsmouth, England, want doctors to continue doing everything possible to save her life.

In October, Justice Hedley said the case evoked "fundamental principles that undergird our humanity" and ruled that doctors should be allowed to discontinue treatment, causing her death.

However, the Wyatts appealed to a higher court, which denied their request.

Hedley told the court that Charlotte shouldn’t receive "invasive, intensive” treatment.

"I’m quite clear that it would not be in Charlotte’s best interests to die in the pursuit of futile, aggressive treatment," he added.

Hedley said it was in Charlotte’s best interests to allow her to die "a good death."

But, pro-life groups say that kind of language is used by euthanasia activists who want euthanasia and assisted suicide legalized in the European nation.

Nuala Scarisbrick of the British pro-life group LIFE warned that the decision takes the country down the slippery slope of determining "quality of life."

"Doctors have no training in measuring ‘quality of life,’" Scarisbrick said. "No one has. It is a subjective and dangerous catchphrase of the eugenics and euthanasia lobbies."

"Doctors have a duty to care for all patients, not to pick and choose according to some arbitrary and unscientific criterion," said Scarisbrick.

Charlotte’s parents say the little girl is a "fighter" who should be given every chance.

Richard Stein, the Wyatt’s attorney, told the London Guardian that the couple is "very upset."

"They have asked me to say that they feel it was most important that the issues in the case have been aired in public because, as a result, everyone has had an opportunity to consider the extremely difficult issues faced by them and the numerous other families in similar positions," Stein said.