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‘Give him time,’ mother urges court about severely brain-injured child

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A mother who is opposing a hospital’s bid for orders effectively permitting it place her severely brain injured son on a palliative care regime has appealed to the High Court to “give him time”.

Her son, whom doctors say is in a vegetative state since he suffered catastrophic injuries in a road collision during the summer, and from which they believe he will not make any meaningful recovery, is “a fighter”, she said.

The boy is her youngest child, all she wants is the best for him and he wants to be home, she told High Court president Ms Justice Mary Irvine on Thursday.

“I know he is not able to talk but he has a heartbeat and a pulse.”

“It is way too soon for him,” she said, adding he would want more time.

She is his carer on a 24/7 basis, she said, and it was like looking after a newborn baby.

“He is my child. I want the best for him. Give him time . He overcame everything. He just needs a long time.”

The boy’s father, who is estranged from the mother, said both parents wanted their son to have more time. When the boy hears his voice, he opens his eyes, he said.

“He needs time. That is all he needs. “

Ms Justice Irvine is conducting a hearing to decide whether or not to grant the orders sought by the hospital.

Arising from the dispute between the parents and the hospital as to what is in the best interests of the child, the orders are being sought in wardship proceedings.

The parents opposed wardship. The judge earlier this week decided the boy should be taken into wardship and will give her reasons for that decision later.

The judge has received several medical reports, including from doctors not attached to the hospital asked by the boy’s court appointed guardian to give their views concerning the orders sought.

Earlier this week, three doctors gave evidence they believe the boy is in a vegetative state, he will not make any meaningful recovery and his best prognosis would be a move to a minimally conscious state. A neurologist who is part of the child’s treatment team said she is 90 per cent sure the boy is experiencing pain as a result of dystonic episodes.

The boy’s parents say it is too soon after the accident to say what will happen in terms of recovery and they oppose orders which would effectively allow the hospital administer a palliative care regime and to withhold life prolonging interventions such as CPR if doctors consider those are not in the boy’s best interests. His mother wants him moved back home to be cared for by her and nursing care professionals or to a nearby hospital.

The court has also heard doctors have concerns that if, in exercising their clinical judgment not to apply invasive interventions when the parents wish them to do so, that might potentially expose them to legal action unless the court has made the orders sought.

The hearing has been adjourned to resume on Tuesday.

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