Midrar Ali: Life support for brain-damaged baby can end, appeal court rules

Peter Stubley
Three judges ruled that Midrar Ali is clinically dead and can be taken off a ventilator: PA

The parents of a brain-damaged baby have lost their legal bid to stop doctors withdrawing life-support treatment.

Karwan Ali, 35, and his wife Shokhan Namiq, 28, had appealed after a High Court judge concluded four-month-old Midrar could be taken off a ventilator.

However three Court of Appeal judges dismissed their challenge and declared their son as clinically dead.

Mr Ali, from Manchester, said that he and his wife were considering trying to take the case to the Supreme Court.

“Can death simply be ruled by judges?,” he asked. “It’s proscribed death, that is all I can say.

“My wife is feeling terrible, she can’t even eat now. It’s like torture for me too now. It’s a very difficult situation for anyone to be in, they tell us the time and the minute.”

Karwan Ali (left) and Shokhan Namiq wanted doctors to keep providing life-support treatment to their brain-damaged baby son (PA)

He added: “I don’t know where this goes, the lawyers have to work on it. We will probably be appealing against it.

“I don’t know what the hospital will do without me agreeing to it. I don’t want to agree to my boy going blue on my hand.”

Midrar was starved of oxygen due to complications at birth in September and suffered brain damage before being put on a ventilator.

Lawyers representing the Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust said three tests had confirmed brain-stem death two weeks after the child’s birth.

Last month, Mrs Justice Lieven concluded Midrar was brain-stem dead and ruled life-support treatment could lawfully end.

But Midrar’s parents wanted treatment to continue and had asked appeal judges to overturn Mrs Justice Lieven’s ruling.

On Friday the three Appeal judges accepted the medical evidence and declared Midrar had died at 8.01pm on 1 October, when he was 14 days old.

Sir Andrew McFarlane, Lord Justice Patten and Lady Justice King ruled that medics could lawfully “cease to mechanically ventilate” Midrar.

“There is no basis for contemplating that any further tests would result in a different outcome,” said Sir Andrew, president of the Family Division of the High Court and the most senior family court judge in England and Wales.

He added that the medical evidence showed Midrar no longer has a “brain that is recognisable as such”.​

A guardian appointed by Mrs Justice Lieven to represent Midrar had also said ending ventilation and letting life end was in the little boy’s best interests.

​Appeal judges are expected to publish a detailed ruling on the case, outlining the full reasoning behind their decision, next week.

Solicitor David Foster, of law firm Barlow Robbins, representing Midrar’s parents, said an appeal was being considered by the couple.

Mr Foster said: “They believe the law in this area should be reviewed and do not consider Midrar’s condition is necessarily ‘irreversible’.

“They would like to have the court give weight to experts from outside the UK.”

Additional reporting by Press Association

Read more

‘Brain dead’ man wakes up after family switch off life support