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Posted on March 19, 2017 at 4:30 AM
Marwa Bouchenafa was born in November 2015. Last September, she suffered a severe viral infection that resulted in neurological damage, paralyzed limbs, and dependence on mechanical ventilation.

In November 2016, the hospital determined that further treatment was inappropriate.  Unable to obtain parental consent, the hospital invoked French Public Health Code Article L1110-5.  It provides that "acts of medical care should not be pursued with unreasonable obstinacy. When they appear to be of no use, disproportionate, or having no other effect than artificial maintenance of life, they can be suspended or not be undertaken."

But the hospital was unable to establish that Marwa's case met these standards. While the local court in Marseille agreed, in February 2017, that Marwa had an extremely negative prognosis, it disagreed that her treatment met the conditions for therapeutic obstinacy.

The hospital appealed to the Council of State (Le Conseil d'Etat), the forum of last resort in France.  In March 2017, that court affirmed.  It based its decision primarily on the ground that there is still some uncertainty about Marwa's prognosis and prospects for improvement.

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