Judge rules that brain-damaged girl can be allowed to die

Brian Farmer, PA
·1-min read

Doctors can stop providing life-support treatment to a five-year-old girl who has suffered brain damage and is in a vegetative state, a High Court judge has ruled.

Specialists treating Pippa Knight at the Evelina Children’s Hospital in London said life-support treatment should end.

Hospital bosses had asked Mr Justice Poole to rule that ending treatment, and allowing Pippa to die, would be lawful and in her best interests.

Pippa’s mother, Paula Parfitt, 41, of Strood, Kent, disagreed.

Ms Parfitt wanted Pippa to be placed on a portable ventilator and allowed home.

Mr Justice Poole, who heard evidence at a trial in the Family Division of the High Court in London in December, ruled on Friday that life-support treatment should end and Pippa should be allowed to die.

“Ms Parfitt has fought as hard for Pippa as any parent could,” he said in his ruling.

“Responsibility for the decisions in this case lies with the court, not with her. My conclusion is that continued mechanical ventilation is contrary to Pippa’s best interests.”

He added that he “cannot give weight to Ms Parfitt’s view that home care would improve Pippa’s condition, because it is at odds with the unanimous view of the clinicians and medical experts”.

The judge delivered his ruling at a remote hearing.