Friday, 09 Nov, 2007 Offbeat

Doctor Not Liable for Reviving a Disabled Baby


A Vancouver doctor is not liable for reviving a baby who was born without heartbeat and his survival lead to serious disabilities, the state Supreme Court said.

Nichole Stewart-Graves and Todd Graves, the parents of the baby said that it was doctor's malpractice, when he kept on resuscitating their baby for about half an hour after his birth. The parents claimed that doctors had to get their consent for revival, as their son now has cerebral palsy, seizures and other mental disorders after resuscitation.

By the Supreme Court decision though, the doctor Katherine Vaughn was found not liable for trying to save the baby, saying that parents had not right to stop the doctor from lifesaving measures.

"Physicians must presume that life is preferable to death, even if that means a severely disabled life," the court said.

It also was added that the doctor didn't violated the law and didn't require the permission of the parents when trying to revive their son.

Liam Stewart-Graves, their son was born with the help of emergency caesarian section and the doctor had to make a decision on the baby's fate without having much time. If doctors had stopped taking measures to revive the baby, it would violated baby's rights. In a complex situation like that, doctors should keep on saving, the court stated.

Mary Spillane, the attorney of the couple, said that there should be a limit where lifesaving measures become useless.

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