By LE Desk
London, March 19: Appeal judges have ruled against a woman who wants to keep life support in place for her five-year-old daughter, who has severe brain damage.
Paula Parfitt, 41, has been embroiled in a series of legal battles with doctors treating her daughter Pippa Knight who believe that life support treatment should end and Pippa should be allowed to die, the Guardian reported.
The appeal followed a high court ruling from Mr Justice Poole earlier this year, who decided that treatment could lawfully end for Pippa, who is in a vegetative state in Evelina children’s hospital in London.
Parfitt asked judges to overturn Poole’s decision, but the appeal judge Lord Justice Baker upheld the ruling. “I am entirely satisfied that the judge was entitled to conclude and declare that it was lawful and in Pippa’s best interests that life-sustaining treatment be withdrawn for the reasons he gave in his judgment,” Baker said in a written ruling.
The other two appeal judges, Lady Justice King and Lady Justice Elisabeth Laing, said they agreed.
Pippa was born in April 2015 and developed normally, but became unwell and began to suffer seizures in December 2016, the judge heard. Doctors diagnosed her with acute necrotising encephalopathy.
Parfitt, who lives in Strood in Kent, said she was “devastated” at the ruling and would attempt to take the case to the supreme court. She wants Pippa to leave hospital, and for specialists to begin a home-care trial.
“I am once again devastated as a result of the judgment of the court of appeal today,” she said. “I find it inexplicable that the court and [hospital] trust will not allow Pippa to trial portable ventilation for two weeks to see if she can return home, when the hospital allows Pippa to go outside for long periods on portable ventilation with no issue.
“I will be seeking permission to appeal to the supreme court. I want Pippa to have every possible chance to come home and be with her family,” she added.
The court heard that Pippa’s father was dead.
Baker said the scenario was nightmarish, and that no parent could have done more to fight for their child.
“Every parent dreads the prospect of their child contracting a terminal illness,” he said. “No parent could have done more than Pippa’s mother to care for her child or fight for her future. As [Mr Justice Poole] observed at the end of his judgment, however, in this case the law vests responsibility for decisions in the court, not the parent.”
Parfitt’s court case has been funded by a campaign group, Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, which paid for legal representation.
Following the ruling, John Deighan, the deputy chief executive of the society, said: “This is a desperately sad day.”