Baby Charlotte's parents tell judge of 'huge strain'

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Indy Lifestyle Online

Darren and Debbie Wyatt have urged a High Court judge to discharge his declaration a year ago that doctors would not be acting unlawfully if they decided it was not in her best interests to ventilate her artificially in a life-threatening situation.

Mrs Wyatt, 24, who is pregnant with the couple's fourth child, and her husband Darren, 33, both gave emotional evidence yesterday, appealing to Mr Justice Hedley to rule in their favour next Friday.

The couple, from Portsmouth, said their 23-month-old daughter's condition had improved and that she had "crossed an invisible line", justifying artificial ventilation in certain circumstances.

Their counsel, David Wolfe, told the judge: "The overwhelming medical consensus is that there are situations in which it would be appropriate to ventilate her if she needed it."

At the end of a two-day hearing in London, to review the up-to-date medical evidence, Mr Justice Hedley said he would give his decision at 11am on 21 October. Mr and Mrs Wyatt are planning a birthday party for Charlotte later that day.

Mrs Wyatt wept as she told the judge: "I would just like the order lifted and have Charlotte home." Her husband also broke down as he described the "huge strain" imposed by the order.

The judge said his concern was over what would happen if Charlotte suffered a "catastrophic respiratory collapse of some sort".

Mrs Wyatt told the court they would not fight for treatment which would cause Charlotte suffering, but "if there is hope, we would want her ventilated".

Charlotte weighed 1lb (450g)and was 5 inches (13cm) long when she was born three months prematurely at St Mary's Hospital, Portsmouth.

She survived against all odds and has made "remarkable progress" despite serious brain, lung and kidney damage.