The parents of a four-month-old brain-damaged baby have been told by a judge their son is brain dead and that his life-support can be removed.
Midrar Ali was starved of oxygen due to complications during birth, and although his heart was restarted, the four-year-old has remained on a ventilator at St Mary’s Hospital in Manchester.
The hospital trust had applied to the Family Division of the High Court for a declaration that ventilation should be withdrawn to allow him a “kind and dignified death”.
However, lawyers for the trust submitted three tests that confirmed brain stem death and concluded that Midrar had no prospect of recovery and would not regain consciousness.
The boy’s parents, Shokan Namiq, 28 from Manchester and Karwan Ali, 35 a biomedical scientist, disagreed as they believed his brain was continuing to function and wanted the treatment to continue.
According to Mrs Justice Lieven, she said that she needed to decide whether Midrar is dead.
She said: “Sadly, I have no doubt that Midrar is brain stem dead and meets the DNC criteria. The medical evidence is both clear and consistent.”
Those tests were “entirely supported” by other evidence that there was no electrical activity in the brain and the stem structure was “fundamentally undermined” which she said was “undoubtedly irreversible”.
She went on: “It is perfectly understandable that the parents should cling to hope by pointing to Midrar’s movements, including chest movements.”
“However, all four consultants who gave evidence said there was an obvious and well-known reason for these movements, namely spinal cord reflexes.”
The judge said that on the evidence it appeared his heart and organs continued to function in large part “because of the expert care he has received from staff in the most difficult of conditions”.
Noting Mr Ali’s examination of medical records and detailed observations of monitoring equipment, Mrs Justice Lieven said: “He and the mother’s love and commitment to Midrar cannot be in any doubt.”
“However, his desire to cling on to any hope does appear to have led him to interpret material in the way he wanted rather than at times listening to the evidence.”
She said the facts of the case were “tragic” and added that “one can only have the greatest sympathy for what the parents are going through”.