A Quebec couple have launched a $3.5-million lawsuit against Montreal Children's Hospital for allegedly putting their infant daughter back on artificial food and hydration without their approval.They didn't want the inconvenience of the child and they wanted to kill her. Now they are stuck with her and have a more difficult, inconvenient child - see below (emphasis added)
Marie-Eve Laurendeau gave birth to Phebe Mantha at LaSalle Hospital in November 2007. After a difficult delivery Phebe was transferred to Montreal Children's Hospital in serious condition and put on life support.
According to the lawsuit Laurendeau and Phebe's father, Stephane Mantha, were told by doctors that their daughter had little chance for survival and advised them to take her off respiratory support and hydration, to which they agreed.
After withdrawing respiratory support, however, it was found that Phebe could breathe on her own, and the hospital's ethics committee reversed the parents' decision to withhold fluids and food from their baby.
The allegations have not yet been substantiated in court.
The couple's lawyer, Jean-Pierre Ménard, said the hospital's ethics committee violated Quebec law and that only the court should have the power to overrule the couple's decision.
"It is totally unacceptable.… Those people have imposed their view of the treatment to the parents," Ménard said at a press conference held by the parents."The doctors said that each time she was fed the child suffered and they recommended letting her go and give her palliative care to control any discomfort," he said.
"The parents said it was the worst decision they ever had to make but they could not see what kind of life Phebe would have. They believed if their child could somehow consent, she would have agreed to have her life end."
After two-and-a-half months in hospital, Phebe was alive and neither deaf nor blind, as doctors had predicted she would be. She does, however, still suffer from some significant disabilities, including cerebral palsy, which reportedly require constant care. Hospital officials told the parents they could take their child home, or she would be placed in protective custody. They opted for the former.
Phebe is now almost 18 months old and, according to a CTV report, smiles at her parents. The parents say that Phebe's mother has had to quit her job to take care of their daughter and they are now living on only one income.
"I would tell them to come to our house for a week and see what it's like to live with a child like ours," said Mantha. "See the involvement that's needed -- the time and energy in terms of everything involved in our life."
Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, congratulated the hospital ethics committee for upholding basic ethics and not dehydrating to death an infant who was not otherwise dying.
"The facts of this case appear fairly clear," he said. "Phebe was born with significant disabilities and the doctors thought that she was better off dead. Since the ethics committee recognized that Phebe was not dying, and because they didn't believe that she was better off dead, they decided to continue to provide her basic care."
Medical ethicists, without God in their midst, making life and death decisions. Scary. At least they got this one right. But, if the couple wins the case, does that legalize infanticide in Canada?