The distraught father of a brain dead woman, kept alive because she is 18 weeks pregnant, has begged a Dublin court to switch her life support machine off.
Doctors feared that if they turned off the woman’s life support that they would contravene Article 8 of the Irish Constitution, which states that the fetus has the same constitutional right to life as the mother.
The father, who has not been named, stated “My daughter is dead. The chances of the fetus surviving are minimal we have been told. I want her to have dignity and be put to rest.”
Seven doctors, including some of Ireland’s leading physicians, testified in support of the father and stated that there was very little hope that the fetus would be viable.
A specialist in intensive care, Dr. Brian Marsh, said the woman was now “a corpse.”
“I don’t believe this unborn can survive,” he said.
Another medical expert, Dr. Peter Boylan, stated that doctors have entered uncharted territory in treating the woman and that in any other country she would be allowed to die with dignity.
The three-judge court will make a decision as early as Friday on whether the life support will be withdrawn.
Dr. Frances Colreavy, an expert in intensive care, said she had deep concerns about the situation.
She examined the woman Monday and found her face to be puffy, an oozing wound to her head, and an infection in her abdomen.
“There is a photograph in her room of her, but there is no resemblance,” Colreavy said.
The woman’s two young children visited and became visibly upset when they saw their mother, who suffered a massive brain hemorrhage earlier this month.
Colreavy said her heart will eventually stop, and the fetus has very little prospect of surviving.
The court also heard from the unborn baby's father, the woman’s partner, who said he supported the application to have life support terminated.
Relatives of the woman, who is in her twenties, wept in court as details of her condition became public.
Marsh told the High Court, “From our perspective life became a corpse at the time of the brain hemorrhage on December 3.”