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Would you end your childs life?

(103 Posts)
muckypup73 Mon 03-Jul-17 09:12:30

After the case of little Charlie, I came across a facebook post about little Nancy, anyway I will take off the newspaper what it says.

Nancy was born blind with hydrocephalus, meningitis and septicaemia. It meant she could not walk, talk, eat or drink and spent hours screaming in agony

They must have been the hardest words any mother could ever have to imagine about her child.

But devoted Charlotte Fitzmaurice bravely wrote them down and handed them to a High Court judge to win for 12-year-old daughter Nancy what she believed she needed most.

To put an end to her suffering – and finally to be at peace.

Nancy was born blind with hydrocephalus, meningitis and septicaemia. It meant she could not walk, talk, eat or drink.

Her quality of life was so poor she needed 24-hour hospital care and was fed, watered and medicated by tube.

As her health deteriorated, she spent hours screaming in agony despite the morphine and ketamine she was given.

For Charlotte too, the pain of seeing her daughter suffering like this was too much to bear.

So after 12 heartbreaking years, she went to court to fight for Nancy’s right to die.

Her moving 324-word statement was read out by Justice Eleanor King in August.

Giving the reasons why Nancy should be allowed to die, Charlotte said: “My daughter is no longer my daughter, she is now merely just a shell.

“The light from her eyes is now gone and is replaced with fear and a longing to be at peace.

“Today I am appealing to you for Nancy as I truly believe she has endured enough. For me to say that breaks my heart.

“But I have to say it.”

In a landmark decision, Justice King immediately granted Charlotte’s request.

Nancy died 14 days later at London’s Great Ormond Street with her family around her after fluids were withdrawn.

The ruling sets a precedent. It is the first time a child breathing on her own, not on life support and not suffering a terminal illness has been allowed to die.

The judge’s decision was fully supported by doctors at the world famous children’s hospital – but it is bound to reignite the “right to die” debate.

And it will be further fuelled by what Nancy’s parents’ have to say today.

Charlotte, 36, had the support of Nancy’s dad, company boss David Wise, 47.

And the pair agreed to share details of Nancy’s case because they believe parents facing the same life-or-death decision should be able to make it without going to court.

They think parents should decide with medics at hospital rather then pleading in front of a judge.

It is a controversial stance. Nancy’s case comes five years after the High Court approved the death of baby Ronnie Bickell. He was born with a genetic ­condition that rendered his muscles useless.

A year later Hannah Jones made ­headlines in a High Court story that took a remarkable twist – and bolstered the case against the right to die.

At 13, she refused a life-saving heart operation. Herefordshire Primary Care Trust applied to the High Court to force the op but dropped the case after she convinced them she did not want surgery.

The next year Hannah, of Marden, decided to have the operation. The transplant was successful and she made a full recovery.

Charlotte, 36, never had such hopes of a happy ending for Nancy. She was told her baby was likely to be born severely ill two days before she gave birth in July 2002.

Charlotte was carrying Group B Streptococcus. It had gone untreated during her pregnancy.

She says: “Hearing my little girl’s ­condition could have been treatable in the womb was unbearable. If caught early, simple antibiotics can treat it.

“Instead Nancy was born blind with meningitis and septicaemia. It was utterly devastating. But I knew I would love her no matter what.”

At 10 days old, Nancy had to have a shunt fitted in her brain. She spent a month in hospital but was finally allowed to go home. Doctors warned she was likely to die before her fourth birthday.

Ronnie was on a ventilator and could not communicate but could hear, feel and see.

After months of round-the-clock care the hospital applied to turn off his life support, leaving his mum and dad on opposite sides of a bitter court battle.

In November 2009 a High Court judge ruled with his mother Kelly that Ronnie’s quality of life would not be good enough to justify the medical care. Ronnie was 13 months old when his life support machine was switched off.

There is more if you want to read it, but if you had a child that had utterly no quality of life what would you do?

SuperBeagle Mon 03-Jul-17 09:14:55

Yes. Absolutely.

My dad was removed from life support at the age of 36 due to meningococcal meningitis which turned septic. He was not living at that point. It was only a machine keeping him "alive". I have never resented the decision to remove him from life support, and remain incensed that some of my family protested so heavily about it when it wouldn't have been their burden to bear if he'd remained on LS.

The Charlie Gard situation infuriates me and it's not the hospital that has me enraged

user1476869312 Mon 03-Jul-17 09:19:42

Meningitis and septacemia are both infections, not longterm conditions, so I'm a bit bemused at the way the paper keeps going on about them. you don't live with either of those things for 12 years.

FWIW I think this is an area where things need to be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. Otherwise you'll end up with all sorts of dodgy precedents - care being refused on purely economic grounds, superstitious halfwits refusing medical treatment for family members on the grounds that their imaginary friend wouldn't like it, only the photogenic with social-media-savvy families getting their care funded...

Josieannathe2nd Mon 03-Jul-17 09:19:49

You could ask a different question 'Would I stop keeping my child alive with artificial ventilation and considerable medical input if they were in pain and there was no chance of recovery?

Supersoaryflappypigeon Mon 03-Jul-17 09:20:23

Yes, I think I would. I can't possibly say 100% without actually being in that position (and I thank my lucky stars that I'm not) but I think that I would.

Writerwannabe83 Mon 03-Jul-17 09:20:45

Nancy died 14 days later at London’s Great Ormond Street with her family around her after fluids were withdrawn.

So she was effectively left to dehydrate until she died?

I completely agree that parents should have the right to want their child's suffering to end and I absolutely think these parents were correct to make this appeal.....but the above sentence just sits uneasy with me. There has to be a more dignified way to allow a suffering child to die then just stop all fluids and wait for the inevitable?

I'm hoping it's just poor phrasing/wording and there was a lot more to it than just withdrawing the fluids.

alltouchedout Mon 03-Jul-17 09:21:45

I hope I would. Not having been in that awful situation I can't know for sure of course. My heart goes out to any family dealing with that.

CloudPerson Mon 03-Jul-17 09:24:54

User, I read it as being about the long term complications from those conditions, not the initial infections themselves.

I would, if here was no quality of life and no hope of improvement. I would hope someone would make the same decision for me if I was in that position too.

StupidSlimyGit Mon 03-Jul-17 09:25:05

If it was what was right for my child then yes, I wouldn't expect anyone, much less my own children to suffer just because I can't bear to lose them.
I was given the option to put my daughter through an operation that may have prolonged her life by a month, possibly even two, but with zero quality, high risk, and she would have been in pain. It would not have had any chance of helping her live a life. The doctors and I spoke for a long time and we all felt the best option was the heartbreaking one, we turned the machine off instead. She was comfortable, calm and in my arms when it happened and she was allowed dignity.
I wouldn't allow a pet to suffer for a prolonged period of time, I wouldn't want to suffer like that, personally for me I could never put another person through it.
Poor little Charlies case has broken my heart, while I think the keyboard warriors need to step down, I hope the parents can make peace eventually with what's happened.

MrsJayy Mon 03-Jul-17 09:26:12

Withdrawing fluids and letting nature take its course was offered to my parents im 46 so no i don't think you should be able to allow your child to die like this I don't understand how Nancy had septicemia and menigitis for 12 years either makes no sense.

muckypup73 Mon 03-Jul-17 09:26:17

My brother died aged 14, he had severe cerebal palsy and was in and out of hospital all the time. my parents were given a life span of him being dead by the age of 2 years, I personally think this lady has been amazingley brave, can you imagine how heart breaking it would have been to come to that decision?

On Fabeook, this lady was being called a murderer, and I thought to myself you have no idea that this woman has been through.

thethoughtfox Mon 03-Jul-17 09:27:01

Without a doubt. It can be difficult for parents to put the needs of their child above their own pain at the thought of losing them.

muckypup73 Mon 03-Jul-17 09:28:42

MrsJayy, she was probably left with a severe disability because of it, I know one lady whos child had meningitus and her child lost both her legs.

I do not agree with withdrawing fluids and food, but in this country I guess there is no other way of doing it as it is euthanasia, so I presume this is the only legal way of doing it???

GinSwigmore Mon 03-Jul-17 09:28:56


MrsJayy Mon 03-Jul-17 09:29:42

Fwiw I don't think these parents are murderers Or heartless I can't begin to imagine what they went through.

SeagullsStoleMyChurro Mon 03-Jul-17 09:29:55

I completely agree that the withdrawal of fluids part is horrible. It's such moral cowardice (not blaming the medics who have to act within the law as it stands).
Agree to allow someone's death but them not actually carry it out humanely.
Imagine if someone did that to a pet dog or cat? They'd be prosecuted for animal cruelty.

CloudPerson Mon 03-Jul-17 09:34:38

Am I wrong, or is withdrawal of fluids quite common with old patients with no hope of recovery?
I agree that's horrible, and surely should be an argument for humane euthanasia in cases where withdrawal of fluids would be used.

BloodWorries Mon 03-Jul-17 09:34:39

I agree with Writer, they should have that option but the method used doesn't sit well with me.

I suppose what else can they do under current law. I hope she was placed into a coma or something rather than being conscious whilst they waited for her to die of dehydration.

Scrumplestiltskin Mon 03-Jul-17 09:34:40

Absolutely. I could never allow my child to be kept alive, suffering endlessly with no hope of recovery. It would break my heart to do so, but I would know it was the right decision.

ARumWithAView Mon 03-Jul-17 09:35:21

I don't think you can honestly answer this question in the abstract.

Yes: I believe that it's wrong to maintain anyone in a state of zero consciousness, with no ability to move or communicate, a very high likelihood of pain, and no chance of recovery.

In practice, people who have a loved one in this condition may project their own desperate hopes onto the situation. They believe they see signs of consciousness and communication. If pain isn't absolutely overt, they minimize or deny its presence. They refuse to believe a condition is terminal and latch onto any possible cure, and there is always someone offering or suggesting a cure, from experimental medical procedures to cannabis oil to divine intervention.

Objectively, I think they're wrong. But I have no real idea how I'd react in such a state of stress and grief.

This is why we need a series of safeguards, via hospitals and courts, to ensure (as a last resort) that hope, love, despair and other emotions don't end up prolonging suffering beyond all reason.

Spikeyball Mon 03-Jul-17 09:35:24

Yes, I wouldn't want a child to be in untreatable, permanent pain.

MrsJayy Mon 03-Jul-17 09:35:56

muckypup ah thanks for clarifying about the illnesses, yes withholding nutrition is the only legal way to allow somebody to die but i don't think think it is peacefully slipping away it just doesn't sit right with me, Fwiw i am a believer in right to die

mydogisthebest Mon 03-Jul-17 09:43:35

I don't have children but would hope that in that situation I would not prolong suffering.

I don't believe in keeping anyone alive, child or adult, if they have literally zero quality of life and/or are in terrible pain. I know I would not want to be kept alive in those circumstances and my DH says he wouldn't either.

I keep thinking of poor Charlie and wondering if he is in pain. I really think the kindest thing would to let him go and be at peace.

I certainly know I would never let an animal suffer like that although of course I am not comparing a pet with a child

notanevilstepmother Mon 03-Jul-17 09:46:38

I am still baffled as to why when my old dog had kidney failure and was very poorly with no chance of recovery I was able to hold him in my arms while he peacefully slipped away with a simple injection before it got any worse for him, but I can't do the same legally for my human loved ones.

I wouldn't have let my dog die painfully over several days from dehydration or poisoning from the kidneys not working. It would have been awful.

Why do we treat animals better than humans?

Keep the court involvement by all means, and only allow Euthanasia when there is no hope of recovery but the current situation is cruel.

nocoolnamesleft Mon 03-Jul-17 09:48:23

I feel that there are times that the last best favour you can do for someone you love, if the situation is hopeless, is to stop prolonging their dying.

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