Father’s ‘torture’ after losing legal battle over baby son’s treatment
Karwan Ali and wife Shokhan Namiq wanted medics to keep providing life-support for four-month-old Midrar Ali but judges have declared he is dead.
A father has spoken of his “torture” after judges ruled doctors can withdraw treatment from his brain-damaged son as he is now clinically dead.
Karwan Ali, 35, and his wife Shokhan Namiq, 28, who live in Manchester, had appealed after a High Court judge concluded four-month-old Midrar was brain-stem dead and said doctors could lawfully stop treating him.
The parents wanted doctors to keep providing life-support treatment but three Court of Appeal judges on Friday dismissed their challenge and declared their son is dead.
Mr Ali disputed the medics’ findings and said his lawyers would be working on an appeal.
He said: “Can death simply be ruled by judges? It’s proscribed death, that is all I can say.
“My wife is feeling terrible, she can’t even eat now. It’s a very difficult situation for anyone to be in, they tell us the time and the minute.”
He added: “It’s like torture for me too now. I don’t know where this goes, the lawyers have to work on it. We will probably be appealing against it.
“I don’t know what the hospital will do without me agreeing to it. I don’t want to agree to my boy going blue on my hand.”
Sir Andrew McFarlane, Lord Justice Patten and Lady Justice King ruled on Friday that medics could lawfully “cease to mechanically ventilate” Midrar.
Last month, Mrs Justice Lieven concluded Midrar was brain-stem dead and ruled life-support treatment could lawfully end.
But Midrar’s parents wanted treatment to continue and had asked appeal judges to overturn Mrs Justice Lieven’s ruling.
The three appeal judges at a Court of Appeal hearing concluded Midrar’s parents did not have an arguable case and declared he is dead.
Sir Andrew, president of the Family Division of the High Court and the most senior family court judge in England and Wales, said evidence showed “awfully” Midrar no longer has a “brain that is recognisable as such”.
He added: “There is no basis for contemplating that any further tests would result in a different outcome.
“No other conclusion was open to Mrs Justice Lieven.”
Solicitor David Foster, of law firm Barlow Robbins, representing Midrar’s parents, said an appeal was being considered by the couple.
Mr Foster said: “They believe the law in this area should be reviewed and do not consider Midrar’s condition is necessarily ‘irreversible’.
“They would like to have the court give weight to experts from outside the UK.”
Born on September 18, Midrar was starved of oxygen due to complications at birth and suffered brain damage, and been placed on a ventilator.
Lawyers representing the hospital’s governing trust, the Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, said three tests had confirmed brain-stem death two weeks after the child’s birth.
Appeal judges accepted evidence and declared Midrar had died at 8.01pm on October 1, when he was 14 days old.
Sir Andrew said appeal judges had been asked to consider issues including:
– Whether Mrs Justice Lieven had correctly identified the issue “as being whether Midrar is dead” according to UK criteria and clinical guidance, and, if so, whether he should be removed from a ventilator?
– Was the question of the “best interests” of an individual relevant when a person was dead?
A guardian appointed by Mrs Justice Lieven to represent Midrar had said ending ventilation and letting life end was in the little boy’s best interests.
Midrar’s parents had also said their son’s “best interests” were relevant.
But Mrs Justice Lieven decided not to analyse what was in Midrar’s “best interests”, saying in her ruling that if someone was brain-stem dead then there were “no best interests to consider”.
Sir Andrew said on Friday the outcome would have been the same if Mrs Justice Lieven had analysed Midrar’s best interests.
He explained: “In so far as the parents’ argue that this case should have been determined on a ‘best interests’ basis, such analysis could not, on the facts of this case, produce any other outcome but for the removal of the ventilator.”
Appeal judges are expected to publish a detailed ruling on the case, outlining the full reasoning behind their decision, next week.