Oxford

High Court judge rules girl on life support is dead

High Court Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The High Court was told test showed the teenager to be "brain stem dead"

A High Court judge has ruled a 14-year-old girl taken to hospital after being found hanging has died.

Doctors from Oxford University Hospitals (OUH) NHS Trust told the court tests three days ago showed the teenager to be "brain stem dead".

But her parents said she had signs of life and wanted her to stay on a ventilator in hope of a miracle.

On Friday Mr Justice Francis concluded the "criteria for death" had been met for the girl who can not be named.

He said doctors could lawfully stop providing "ventilatory support" and "all other treatment".

'Extremely difficult'

The OUH trust, which had responsibility for the girl's care, asked for a declaration that she was dead.

Barrister Michael Mylonas QC, representing the trust, said cases where judges were asked to declare death were rare but not unheard of.

The court heard two consultants had carried out brain stem testing and confirmed that the girl was brain stem dead.

Mr Mylonas said for "entirely understandable" reasons the girl's family had found the situation "extremely difficult to process".

He added in the circumstances hospital bosses wanted declarations that death had occurred and that ventilatory support and all other treatment could be withdrawn.

Mr Justice Francis also made a ruling the girl could not be identified.

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