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Posted on November 24, 2018 at 4:30 AM

The parent v. clinician conflicts in the cases of Charlie Gard and Alfie Evans attracted worldwide attention. But those cases are hardly unique. The British courts regularly decide similar cases.

Last month, Ms. Justice Russell issued a judgment in NHS Trust v. A, B, and C.

Two month old infant C was born with a “severe brain abnormality or malformation of his brain.” There is no available treatment and his life expectancy is less than one year. The NHS Trust asked the court for a declaration that it is C’s best interest to not receive intubation, mechanical ventilation, or any resuscitative measures.

Following the advice in previous judgments, the court drew up a “balance sheet.” The court found that because C had limited awareness of his environment, he derived limited benefits. Against those benefits, the court balanced the pain, discomfort, and distress that C suffers multiple times every day.

The court concluded “It is in C’s best interests for the court to make the declarations sought by the NHS Trust because the intervention and invasive treatments which his parents seek confer no real benefit and subject C to continuous, and ultimately futile, pain, suffering and distress; it follows that it is lawful for the treatments to be withheld.”

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