Bioethics Blogs

NHS Seeks to Limit Two-Year-Old’s Treatment to Palliative Care over Parents’s Objections

Mrs Justice Parker

Congratulations to the United Kingdom for adjudicating medical futility disputes in a transparent way that provides guidance to clinicians.  Dozens of these cases have already been publicly reported, more than in the much larger United States.

The most recent case concerns a two-year-old boy with an incurable and progressive neurological condition.  

NHS officials told Mrs. Justice Parker of the High Court Family Division that further “invasive” life-saving procedures would potentially only distress him and be of little or no therapeutic benefit.  “He used to smile and giggle when played with and tickled. He no longer does that.”  

On the other hand, the boy’s parents argue that all treatment options should continue to be available.  The hearings continue.

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.