21 October 2005

Judge lifts no-resuscitation order


Fresh hope for Charlotte Wyatt's parents

Staff and agencies
Friday October 21, 2005

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Charlotte Wyatt with her mother Debbie at St Mary's hospital in Portsmouth earlier this year. Photograph: Solent News and Photos

A high court judge today ruled that profoundly disabled girl Charlotte Wyatt can be resuscitated if she suffers an emergency health problem.

Mr Justice Hedley previously said doctors could be allowed not to revive the girl, a decision which angered Charlotte's parents.

Darren and Debbie Wyatt said they were "very happy that the order which has been hanging over Charlotte for over a year now has been lifted".

Both the doctors and the parents now agree that Charlotte should not be resuscitated if she suffers major heart failure, but will be revived if she suffers something less serious.

Charlotte, who is two today, has been very ill since she was born with heart and lung problems, needing a constant supply of oxygen. She has never left St Mary's hospital in Portsmouth where she has been treated.

The judge formally lifted the existing declarations, but he stressed that the doctors could not be compelled to act against their conscience.

David Wolfe, counsel for the couple, told the judge: "The parents are most grateful for the opportunity to restore the normal parent-doctor relationship in this case.

"I am formally instructed to say on behalf of Charlotte 'thank you', remembering that it is Charlotte's second birthday today."

The judge replied: "Indeed, I am aware that people are heading off to the birthday party and I was going to ask them to convey whatever they can to say other people are thinking of her."

Afterwards, a statement issued on the couple's behalf, said they "are so happy that they can now get on with their lives and look forward to the future and look forward to Charlotte's homecoming and the birth of their other child".

It continued: "They would like to thank all the public for all their support and prayers and would like to thank the judge for lifting the order, especially on her birthday as they believe this is the best present that Charlotte could have.

"Now she can continue to get on with her life and progress and come home."

Reading out a detailed ruling in the case, the judge said he had come to the view that "at least at present no further declaratory relief is required".

"I hope that the trust and confidence of which both Dr K (Charlotte's consultant, who cannot be named for legal reasons) and the parents spoke can now develop with a view to securing the best for Charlotte, whether in life or death.

"It is said that cases like this have no winners, but here there is a chance that Charlotte may be the winner if her parents seize this opportunity constructively to build upon their trust and confidence in Dr K and the staff who have committed themselves in such exemplary fashion to her case," the judge said.

Heartbreaking - God bless the child and her parents .

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