DCSIMG

Charlotte's parents fail to overturn court order to let her die

Key points

• 22-month-old Charlotte Watt is seriously ill

• A court order allows Doctors to choose not to resuscitate her

• Parents Darren and Debbie Wyatt are appealing against the court's decision

Key quote

"They say that, given the improvements in Charlotte's situation and given her continuing improvement, the doctors should not have in their back pockets an open consent from the court to let Charlotte die regardless of the circumstances at the time and regardless of the views of her parents." - David Wolfe

Story in full THE parents of seriously-ill Charlotte Wyatt yesterday lost the latest round of their battle to overturn a court order allowing doctors not to resuscitate the 22-month-old if she stops breathing.

Darren Wyatt, 33, and his wife Debbie, 24, who have been told by the hospital treating their daughter that she has made "remarkable progress", failed to persuade the Court of Appeal that the order should now be rescinded.

Doctors at St Mary's Hospital in Portsmouth won the legal right last October not to resuscitate Charlotte, after arguing that her brain and other organs were so seriously damaged she had "no feeling other than continuing pain".

Mr Justice Hedley, who granted the order, said he did not believe further aggressive treatment was in the best interests of the infant.

Against the odds and medical opinion, Charlotte survived the winter.

In April, her parents failed to have the October judgment overturned, leading to yesterday's proceedings. After a full-day hearing, Lords Justice Laws, Wall and Lloyd rejected the couple's appeal.

But the judges said a review of the case ordered by Mr Justice Hedley should be "accelerated", with a directions hearing next month.

Lord Justice Laws said the court "attached a high importance to the up-to-date position being properly investigated" with a view to a decision on whether the order should "now continue".

The judges ruled that Mr Justice Hedley had "made no error of law".

Although the appeal judges announced the result of proceedings, they will give the full reasons for their decision in writing at a later date.

Lord Justice Laws described it as an "anxiously important case".

Mr and Mrs Wyatt, of Portsmouth, who have been told that their daughter has made "remarkable progress", were in court for the ruling.

Earlier, they had urged the court to lift the threat that has been hanging over the family.

The couple's counsel, David Wolfe, said: "Debbie and Darren say that the time has come to lift the threat that has hung over Charlotte and her family for a year.

"And that is why they bring this appeal."

He said: "They say that, given the improvements in Charlotte's situation and given her continuing improvement, the doctors should not have in their back pockets an open consent from the court to let Charlotte die regardless of the circumstances at the time and regardless of the views of her parents."

Granting the original order in October, Mr Justice Hedley said he did not believe "any further aggressive treatment, even if necessary to prolong her life, is in her best interests".

He said Charlotte should be allowed "to meet her end ... in the TLC [tender loving care] of those who love her most".

According to her parents, who describe her as a "fighter", she now smiles, reaches out to them and tries to talk.

After the result was announced, Mr Wyatt said: "We are keeping our fingers crossed."

The couple's solicitor, Richard Stein, said: "They are pleased that the court recognised Charlotte's continued improvement.

"The doctor called her improvement remarkable and one of the judges called it astonishing.

"We have the hearing in the autumn when all the evidence will be heard before the court and we are very optimistic that at that point the declaration will be dismissed."

 
 
 

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