Mother in battle over baby's life

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A woman who refuses to allow her baby to have liver transplant surgery is involved in a test-case battle for a parent's right to choose.

The 27-year-old woman claims when that her son was seven months old she was "coerced" into signing a hospital consent form for him to have the operation, the Court of Appeal in London was told. But just as a suitable liver became available for transplant, she took the boy abroad.

On 17 September, a High Court judge made the "wholly exceptional" order that the mother and boy must fly back to the UK for the operation. The woman's counsel, Robert Francis, admitted: "If the child does not have the operation, it is a near certainty that within a short period of time the child will die." But he described the judge's decision as "invasive" of the right of parents to choose whether children should undergo surgery. The mother's reluctance to submit her son to a transplant was "the act of a loving and caring parent; it is not taken out of selfish interests".