Government May Take Disabled Girl Away From Her Parents, Who are Suing Doctors For Withdrawing Her Treatment

International   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Jan 15, 2018   |   7:35PM   |   London, England

An 11-year-old terminally ill girl may be removed from her British parents’ custody because of a disagreement about her medical care.

Melody Driscoll could die in a foster home away from her parents as a result of their lawsuit against the hospital that is treating her, the Daily Mail reports. The young girl is suffering from Rett Syndrome and is under the care of doctors at King’s College Hospital in London, according to the report.

“I saw the words ‘foster care’ and collapsed,” said her mother, Karina Driscoll. “I couldn’t read on. We love our children more than anything and we’d never harm a hair on their heads.”

Her parents, Nigel and Karina Driscoll, disagree with the doctors’ decision to remove their daughter’s morphine and steroids. They said their little girl may go into cardiac arrest if the drugs are removed. The doctors contend that Melody could suffer from liver failure if she continues with the drugs.

The Driscolls said they know Melody may die sooner on the morphine, but they think the drug helps with her pain. Since she was put on morphine, her parents said her condition has improved greatly.

“We want as much time with her as we can, but understand that should be about quality, not quantity. I’d rather have one more year with Melody where she was not in pain, than five years of watching her like this,” her mother said.

Here’s more from the report:

They have enlisted help from Charles Da Silva, the lawyer who worked on the Charlie Gard case. The family are trying to raise £50,000 to cover the legal costs.

After contacting the council to see if they could provide a social worker for Melody, the couple were given a letter from social services which read that their ill daughter could be taken into [foster] care.

In the letter, doctors say the parents are ‘difficult’ and say Melody could be at risk from ‘significant harm’.

“I asked for a social worker because I thought they’d help us do the best for Melody,” Karina said. “Now I realize how naive we were. Parents are powerless. How do we begin to explain to the other children that Melody might be taken from them?

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“The time we have left is so precious and I want her to spend it at home, making memories with her family – and not in agony,” she continued.

Melody defied doctors’ predictions in the past. Initially, doctors told her parents that she probably would not live past her fifth birthday, according to the report. She is 11 years old.

A spokesperson for the hospital said the doctors also want what is best for Melody.

British parents and hospitals have engaged in several highly publicized battles over the care of children in the past few years. The most well-known was the case of Charlie Gard, a terminally ill British infant whose parents wanted to take him to the United States for an experimental treatment. Charlie’s parents lost their case, and Charlie died last summer when the hospital removed his life support.