High Court rules that doctors can withdraw life-sustaining treatment from 11-year-old boy


Linda Jacobs and Catriona Stirling, instructed by the Bar Pro Bono Unit, have represented the family of an 11-year-old boy at the hearing of an urgent application by an NHS Trust for a declaration that it would not be unlawful to withdraw the medical treatment that was keeping him alive.

The child, X, (in the case of matter of the inherent jurisdiction of the High Court and in the matter of a child X (aged 11)) had been in hospital since July. He was a normal fit and healthy boy until he contracted a virus which attacked his heart.

His condition had deteriorated in hospital to the extent that the Trust no longer considered him a candidate for transplant surgery.

His heart and lung function were dependent on mechanical devices which were effectively keeping him alive.

The Trust’s application to withdraw this support was strongly opposed by X’s devoutly Muslim parents.

Ruling in favour of the Trust, Bodey J accepted that there was no hope of any surgical or other intervention which could save X’s life. He held that it was not in X’s best interests for life-sustaining treatment to be continued.

The parents have until 16:30 on 05 October 2015 to appeal to the Court of Appeal.

See reported case here: