Guidelines for confirming death in very young babies are being reviewed amid concerns about a case in which a baby boy started to breathe after a diagnosis of brain stem death.
Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust applied to the High Court in June for a declaration that A, who was born in April, was dead and for authorisation to withdraw his ventilation, ancillary care, and treatment. Aged 2 months, he had sustained a profound hypoxic ischaemic brain injury after a cardiac arrest that happened shortly after he was found limp in his cot with abnormal breathing.
But before the case came to court a nurse observed him breathing spontaneously, and the trust rescinded the declaration of brain stem death.
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Source: BMJ, 31 August 2022