Parents in court bid to stop hospital ending brain-damaged son’s life support
World / 17 December 2019, 07:52am / SAM GREENHILL CHIEF REPORTER
London - The parents of a desperately ill baby boy will on Tuesday beg a judge to give him a chance at life.
Doctors have told Midrar Ali’s family he will never recover from a brain injury and it would be kinder to let him die.
They are asking a court to sanction removing life support from Midrar, who will be three months old tomorrow.
But his parents are adamant their little boy is improving and plan to fight the application by Manchester’s St Mary’s Hospital, saying: ‘We will never agree to end the life of our son.’
Their plight has echoes of the cases of baby Charlie Gard, whose parents fought a similar battle in 2017, and of five-year-old Tafida Raqeeb, whose parents recently won the right to take her to Italy for treatment. Midrar’s mother Shokhan had a normal pregnancy but complications during birth meant her baby’s brain was starved of oxygen, said his father Karwan Ali.
‘Everything was totally fine until his birth,’ said Mr Ali, 35. ‘When Midrar came out, they resuscitated him with chest compressions and drugs and they heard his heart beat after eight minutes. He was taken to intensive care. Midrar was in a coma, but after 43 days we noticed his eye beginning to open.
‘We have videos of him moving his finger. And he responds when we place our hand on his chest. He tries to turn his head and stretch his chest. He’s trying – he just needs more time.’
Mr Ali, a biomedical scientist, and his wife, 28, have an older son, aged two, and the family, from Manchester, keep a round-the-clock vigil at Midrar’s bedside. ‘We have been here three months and normal life has stopped,’ said Mr Ali. Midrar is fed through a tube and is growing normally. He is now 11lb 7oz (5.2kg).
‘He breathes with a ventilator but you can see that he is trying to breathe without it, and we would like to let him try,’ said Mr Ali.
‘Every single day more than ten times he makes some movement. He is not brain dead. We have videos of him moving his head, his eyes, his finger.
‘It is not a total movement but it is progress. Why is there a rush? Let him have time. We strongly believe in the importance of life.
‘Maybe he would be disabled but we would think about that later. If he is disabled then we would have no choice, we would have to deal with it and cope. For now, we just have to keep him alive.
‘But the hospital has closed all the doors on us, they say there is no hope, his brain is dead. They say his movements are just reflex, not brain activity.’
The Family Court in Preston is due to hold a preliminary hearing on the case today. Last night a spokesman for Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the hospital, said it would not comment on the case.
Charlie Gard died on July 28, 2017, shortly before his first birthday, after a lengthy court battle over his treatment for a rare inherited disease. His parents, Connie Yates and Chris Gard from Bedfont in south-west London, wanted to take him to America for an experimental treatment and raised more than £1.3million in public donations to pay for it, including tens of thousands from Daily Mail readers.
But a High Court judge ruled the treatment was not in Charlie’s best interests after doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital warned there was no evidence it would succeed, and that Charlie had severe brain damage.