Judge gives parents fighting to keep gravely ill baby alive a Christmas reprieve
World / 18 December 2019, 08:41am / SAM GREENHILL AND RACHEL SMITH
London - A desperately ill baby who doctors said should be allowed to die won a reprieve on Tuesday.
Mr Justice MacDonald threw Midrar Ali a lifeline after his anguished parents begged him: ‘Please – there is no rush.’
The infant, who turns three months old today, is severely brain damaged after complications at birth and doctors say there is no hope of recovery.
St Mary’s Hospital in Manchester had asked the Family Court in Preston to sanction turning off Midrar’s life support.
But on Tuesday his father Karwan Ali, 35, told the judge: ‘It is very important that the court knows that Midrar is not in any pain or suffering or deteriorating.
‘In fact he has grown. He has got some sensations. Now he is opening his eyes a little bit. I don’t understand the rush of the hospital to do the procedure.’
Mr Justice MacDonald told Mr Ali and his wife Shokhan, 28: ‘These are grave and weighty matters. All these things you have just told me will be considered.’
He adjourned the case until after Christmas to give the family time to find a solicitor and ask for brain tests.
He also made Midrar a party to the proceedings, meaning he will have his own lawyers and guardian appointed by the court whose role will be to represent him independently of his parents or the hospital.
He said a further hearing in early January would determine which experts Mr and Mrs Ali can appoint for a final hearing on January 20 or 21.
Neil Davy, representing Manchester University NHS Trust, said: ‘From the trust’s point of view, in terms of issues of urgency, the trust’s primary concern is that Midrar’s dignity is maintained.’
Outside the hearing, Mr Ali said: ‘We have evidence that when we see him, he responds. No doctor or biologist can keep a dead person alive for three months. No technology can do that. I am a biologist. I know that. There is some connection between the brain and the body – it doesn’t work alone.’
The parents have taken videos of Midrar moving his finger, turning his neck and partially opening an eye, which they say he does in response to them. Doctors have told them it is just a reflex action.
The Manchester couple, who also have a two-year-old son, have been keeping a round-the-clock watch by their baby’s intensive care bed.
Mr Justice MacDonald earlier this year ruled in favour of five-year-old Tafida Raqeeb. That allowed her to be taken to Italy for treatment that UK doctors thought futile.