A British family is fighting for the life of their 2-year-old disabled son after the National Health System decided to deny him treatment, claiming the toddler’s quality of life is poor, The Daily Mail reports.
Details about the toddler’s condition are not known, but he has spent the majority of his life in the hospital, suffering from a neurological disorder that does not have a cure, according to the report. Doctors said his condition is deteriorating, and though he is responsive, his quality of life is poor. The NHS hospital wants to limit him to palliative care and let him die, according to the report.
His parents, who are not named in the report, said they are heartbroken, and they want to have options for their son’s treatment. They are asking a judge to stop the hospital’s plans to deny him care.
On Wednesday, NHS representatives argued in front of Justice Parker that the little boy used to giggle when they ticked him, but now he just grimaces. They said he is minimally responsive.
A nurse who is involved with his care said she believes the 2-year-old can experience pain but not pleasure anymore. She described him grinding his teeth, grimacing and looking uncomfortable. The nurse admitted that the toddler still looks content after baths, something his family told the judge he enjoys; but she was not sure.
“His quality of life is very poor,” she told the judge. “Further invasive interventions are distressing, burdensome and of little or no therapeutic benefit.”
The little boy’s family, who visits him every day, strongly objects to the idea that their son’s life is no longer worth living. The family told Parker that they visit their son every day, and he recognizes them. They said he also responds to music.
“My son greatly enjoys being held and cuddled,” his mother said. “He responds to my presence and enjoys my company.”
The family’s lawyer told Parker that they want to keep the medical options open for their son. Another hearing on the boy’s case is scheduled for May, the report states.
Pro-life advocates often warn that the term “quality of life” is a dangerous one because it leads down a slippery slope toward euthanasia. It can be used to deny people treatment because it may be expensive or they may be seen as burdensome to society. The quality of life ethic draws arbitrary lines to determine who deserves to live and who doesn’t, and these blurry lines often get pushed back further and further, threatening more lives. That’s why pro-lifers fight for the right to life, because life is a determining line that recognizes every human being has value.