Couple sues hospital for keeping sick baby alive
Published Friday, March 13, 2009 10:23PM EDT
A Quebec couple is launching a lawsuit against Montreal Children's Hospital after their severely-ill newborn daughter was put back on life support without their consent.
In November 2007, Marie-Eve Laurendeau gave birth to Phebe Mantha at LaSalle Hospital.
Due to complications at birth, Phebe was transferred to Montreal Children's Hospital in critical condition and kept on life support.
Laurendeau and Phebe's father, Stephane Mantha, say doctors told them at that time that their daughter had little chance she'd survive.
If she did survive, doctors said she would probably be deaf, blind and may need to be institutionalized.
The couple was given the option to withdraw Phebe's life support and to withdraw artificial feeding.
They said they agreed to withdraw respiratory support and later, at the suggestion of doctors, to withdraw the artificial feeding.
"They say they thought that if there was never going to be quality of life for their baby girl then why let her suffer," CTV Montreal's Daniele Hamamdjian reported Friday after the parents held a press conference.
However, the hospital's ethics committee met and reversed the parent's decision without their consent or permission from a court.
After two-and-a-half months, Phebe was still alive and the hospital told the parents to take their child home or they'd place her in protective custody, Hamamdjian said.
Now, 15 months later, Laurendeau has been forced to quit her job to take care of Phebe full time.
Phebe is neither deaf nor blind. But she cannot hold up her head, sit up, or babble as another baby her age would, and she is fed through a hole in her stomach.
She does smile at her parents, though, a recent breakthrough they are thrilled with, CTV's Genevieve Beauchemin reported.
"They say they have no support and are living on one income," Hamamdjian said.
The couple's lawyer says the hospital violated Quebec law and that only the court should have the power to overrule the couple's decision.
A spokesperson for Montreal Children's Hospital refused to comment saying the matter was before the courts.