Heartbroken Parents Fight to Save Disabled Infant After Court Allows Hospital to End Life Support

A UK judged has given doctors permission to withdraw life support from 11-month-old Isaiah Haastrup without his parents' consent. The case is drawing international controversy and adds to a number of similar cases where the law has overruled parents' wishes regarding the welfare of terminally ill children.

Isaiah was born in King's College Hospital in London last February and is severely disabled, displaying no signs of responsiveness, CNN reported. Today, a High Court judge sided with doctors who stated that it was not in the baby’s best interest to be kept alive with a ventilator machine. The hospital wishes to only give Isaiah palliative care, The BBC reported. This would only help to improve his quality of life but not continue to keep the child artificially alive with life support machines.

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His parents, Lanre Haastrup and Takesha Thomas, both of London, England, do not agree with the doctors' and now court's decision. “We will be speaking to lawyers to see what they say. Of course one is disappointed,” said Isaiah’s father, Lanre Haastrup, about the court ruling, The Guardian reported.  

01_29_baby The child will no longer be kept artificially alive. Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Isaiah was born by emergency cesarean section last year after his mother experienced a rupture in her uterus. According to doctors, Isaiah underwent severe oxygen deprivation at birth and as a result suffered from “catastrophic” brain damage, The Guardian reported. However, according to Isaiah's parents, the child’s injuries at birth were due to negligence in the delivery. At birth the child had no audible heartbeat, respiration, activity or muscle tone, CNN reported. Independent expert, Andrew Whitelaw, told CNN that in earlier times the child would have been declared a stillbirth. Today, Isaiah cannot not move or breathe independently and is completely dependent on a ventilator.

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Isaiah has lived all of his 11 months in a hospital but his parents would like to continue Isaiah’s treatments in the hopes that he will one day recover enough that they will be able to bring him home. His mother, Takesha Thomas, argued that Isaiah responded to her face and touch. However, the child’s doctors agree that there has been no change in his condition since birth and that any future improvement is highly unlikely. The court has now sided with the hospital's advisement to not continue life support for the child.

"It is trite but true to observe that the court cannot imagine the emotional pain that the conclusion of the court will cause to the parents. It is my hope that, in due course, the parents will be able to derive some small measure of comfort from the knowledge that they have done all that they can for their much loved and cherished son to seek an alternative outcome for Isaiah," the judgment reads, CNN reported.