Baby on life support ‘deserves a chance’ – mum

A mother who is fighting against doctors’ advice to switch off her 11-month-old baby’s life support has told a court it is “not their decision to make”.

Isaiah Haastrup, who has cerebral palsy and relies on a ventilator to breathe, is currently being treated at King’s College Hospital in London.

His mother, Takesha Thomas, and father, Lanre Haastrup, both 36, are arguing at the family division of the High Court that his treatment should continue and he “deserves a chance”.

Medical professionals have said he is suffering from a “catastrophic brain injury” with “a profoundly low level of consciousness” and there is no indication that he will improve.

Specialists treating the baby say it would be “futile”, “burdensome”, and “not in his best interests” to continue giving him further intensive care treatment.

Ms Thomas told the court: “That’s not their decision to make, that’s for me within myself to make.”

Isaiah Haastrup's mother Takesha Thomas and father Lanre Haastrup outside the High Court in London where a judge is expected this week to decide whether doctors should stop providing life-support treatment to their 11-month-old son being cared for at a London hospital

Image: Takesha Thomas and Lanre Haastrup don’t want their son’s life support turned off

She continued: “Can you handle a child that is so poorly? Can you give him love?… I am a good mother, I can give him love.”

She also insisted that her son is responsive and that she spends more time with him than medical staff, who she said only assess him for “two minutes”.

Ms Thomas said she believes Isaiah has an emotional connection to her.

She told the High Court: “When I pick him up for cuddles, when I sing to him, when I rock him… he falls asleep in my arms.”

She described to the court how she had seen him move his head, his thumb and open his eyes.

“One of the things I live by is that if you give a child love it will thrive,” she said.

A medical expert who assessed Isaiah independently told the court on Tuesday that his disabilities were “profound” and that he wasn’t able to convince himself that the baby “had any awareness at all”.

Undated family file handout photo issued by Irwin Mitchell of Isaiah Haastrup with his aunt Dahlia Thomas, as specialists at King's College Hospital in London say giving further intensive care treatment to the 11-month-old boy is "futile, burdensome and not in his best interests"

Image: 11-month-old Isaiah with his aunt Dahlia Thomas

The witness said that, in his experience, there is often “a mismatch between what parents perceive and what carers perceive to be purposeful responses or emotional responses”.

He also said that from his examination he concluded that Isaiah did not have “any useful respiratory drive that would be life sustaining”.

He added: “I have never seen a patient as severe as him survive.”

Isaiah was born on 18 February, 2017 at King’s College Hospital in London by emergency caesarian.

The trust accepts that a delay in carrying out the operation contributed to his brain damage.

On Monday, Fiona Paterson, representing the hospital trust, told Mr Justice MacDonald: “Anybody in these proceedings can understand the pain and suffering the parents have endured and continue to endure and how much they have put Isaiah’s needs above their own.”

She added the “overwhelming medical evidence” after many months of careful assessment and care was that it was in his best interests for treatment to be withdrawn.

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The judge is hearing evidence at a private trial and has ruled that the case can be reported but medics involved in his care cannot be identified.

The hearing continues.