Re L (A Child) (Withholding Life Sustaining Medical Treatment) [2017] EWHC 3695 (fam)

February 16, 2018

Lorraine Cavanagh acted for the family of a little girl responding to an extremely urgent application by the Hospital Trust for declarations that it was lawful for them not to resuscitate or intubate and mechanically ventilate her. The parents wanted their child to have mechanical ventilation to live her life as it was at the time, albeit profoundly disabled. Williams J did not make blanket declarations as sought by the Trust.  In a postscript he recorded that the child defied the odds and did not die as had been predicted by the clinical team: “The instinct to live clearly runs strongly in her. It illustrates in a vivid way how life defies probabilities and how the best judgments of medicine and law may be confounded by nature.”

The judgment is available here.

The case was covered in the British Medical Journal and the Daily Mail.