CNA Staff, Mar 23, 2021 / 09:00 am
A Catholic bishop has lamented an English appeal court ruling that life-sustaining treatment can be withdrawn from a five-year-old girl against her mother’s wishes.
The Court of Appeal upheld a High Court ruling March 19 that doctors could remove life-support treatment from Pippa Knight, who is in a vegetative state after suffering brain damage.
Bishop John Sherrington said: “Pippa is living in a seriously disabled way due to her complex and rare medical condition. The Catholic Church teaches that every person has worth and dignity which is independent of their condition. Lack of awareness does not diminish worth.”
“The ruling to allow medics to cease Pippa’s treatment based on her quality of life or worth does not acknowledge or afford her the inherent human dignity with which she was born.”
Sherrington, a Westminster diocese auxiliary bishop and the English and Welsh bishops’ spokesman for life issues, said that he was praying for the girl’s mother, Paula Parfitt, as well as the healthcare professionals caring for her.
“We must uncompromisingly ensure that proper care is given where there is still life, despite serious illness or disability,” he commented.
“We are reminded that such care must include the provision of nutrition and hydration, by whatever means, which is neither treatment nor medicine, unless this itself becomes overly burdensome.”
Pippa was born in 2015. In December 2016, she fell ill and began experiencing seizures. Doctors diagnosed her as suffering from acute necrotising encephalopathy, a rare form of brain damage marked by multiple bilateral lesions.