CHU Sainte-Justine will be able to extubate a child who has been in an irreversible coma since the age of five after drowning in the family pool last June, the appeals court ruled.
• Also read: The Court of Appeal must decide the fate of a child in Sainte-Justine who has been intubated since June
• Also read: 5-year-old boy extubated: family appeals
• Also read: A court authorizes the extubation of a 5-year-old boy who was in a coma for 4 months
The little boy was rescued after 20 minutes under water and has been in the intensive care unit of the CHU Sainte-Justine since that evening.
The accident left serious consequences from which he will never recover. Among other things, he is force-fed, can no longer see and has no conscience. The prognosis is bleak: His life expectancy is a maximum of five years.
To this day, he is connected to a ventilator via a tube inserted into his trachea, although he is breathing himself.
Just a few days after the accident, the treating team recommended removing the hose. However, this “poses a risk of death, not because the child is dependent on the breathing apparatus, but because the child’s neurological condition may render him unable to control his secretions,” explains the Court of Appeal’s ruling yesterday.
However, the ventilator is causing him distress and putting him at risk of serious complications, we learn.
The Montreal Institute of Health had appealed to the courts because it disagreed with the parents on how the extubation should be carried out.
Those who cannot be named by order of the court want their child to be reintubated in the event of failure “above all [qu’il] stay alive”. Her decision is particularly motivated by religious beliefs.
The treatment plan does not include reintubation, but comfort care if the procedure fails.
Judge Bernard Jolin sided with CHU Sainte-Justine in his November ruling after hearing several experts who agreed. The judge considers that it is in the best interests of the child to extubate him, given, among other things, the consequences and suffering caused by the ventilator.
The parents, who for their part “hope their child will survive and possibly get out of this horrific situation,” appealed to the Court of Appeal to have the verdict reversed, but to no avail.
Quebec’s highest court yesterday reiterated that Judge Jolin’s decision, while “difficult and heartbreaking,” may be, is in the best interests of the child.
“The principle of supporting life at all costs is not absolute if the conditions for supporting life are not acceptable,” we read.