Edmonton toddler dies after life support removed
Published Thursday, September 20, 2012 12:19PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, September 20, 2012 11:05PM EDT
A two-year-old Edmonton girl allegedly abused by her parents died in hospital Thursday after the Supreme Court rejected a motion to keep her on life support.
The child died at Stollery Children’s Hospital after being removed from the breathing machine that kept her alive.
The girl’s parents had applied for an emergency stay of an Alberta Court of Appeal ruling that upheld a lower court’s decision to take the girl off life support, following the recommendation of her doctors.
But a panel of three Supreme Court justices dismissed the application late Thursday afternoon. The court generally does not provide reasons for its decisions on such motions.
The child, who can only be identified as M, was found in cardiac arrest at an Edmonton home in May. She had been in a coma and on life support ever since, and doctors testified that she was brain dead and would not recover.
Both the girl and her twin sister were found malnourished and with injuries, authorities said. The sister is now in foster care, along with an older brother who was unharmed.
The girl’s parents have been charged with aggravated assault, criminal negligence causing bodily harm and failing to provide the necessities of life.
Now that M has died, charges could be upgraded.
In its ruling, the Alberta Court of Appeal granted each parent a final 20-minute visit with the girl. They were escorted to the hospital Thursday afternoon.
The parents, who are originally from Algeria, had asked the court to keep their daughter alive in accordance with their Muslim beliefs.
However, in the original court ruling, Justice June Ross found their request suspicious, surmising that the little girl’s death could result in harsher charges for the parents.
"They are, inherently, in a conflict of interest," she wrote in her decision last week. "I am left with a concern that their decision may in fact be affected by self-interest."
With files from The Canadian Press