Bioethics Blogs

Futility Dispute – Mary Jane Pierce v. B.C. Women’s Hospital

In April, Mary Jane Pierce was born prematurely at 25 weeks with serious health problems. She has cerebral palsy and has suffered multiple hemorrhages that damaged her brain. 

Next month, a BC court will decide whether B.C. Women’s Hospital in Vancouver must maintain life-sustaining treatment.

The Hospital

At some point, NICU clinicians determined that interventions to maintain Mary Jane’s condition were burdensome on her body and that she has multiple seizures every day.  On August 10, the physician caring for Mary Jane planned to remove the ventilator and transfer the infant to palliative care.

But on August 11, shortly before the ventilator was to be removed, a B.C. Supreme Court judge granted a temporary injunction to stop doctors from removing the life-support.


The Parents

Mary Jane’s parents, Michelle Arnold and Justin Pierce of Chilliwack, B.C., say they were pressured on August 7 into signing temporary custody of their daughter over to the care of an agency under the province’s Ministry of Children and Family Development.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.