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A British judge has ordered life support be removed from a one-year-old boy despite his parents' pleas that their son could recover and that “miracles do happen.”

“The parents believe in the possibility of recovery. It is their belief that given time God may work a miracle – that is not the opinion of the medical experts,” said Justice Alison Russell at the Family Division of the High Court in London in her ruling in favor of the NHS trust, which runs the hospital where the child is being cared for. The National Health Service sued to discontinue life support.

The lawyer representing the NHS trust told the judge that the boy was born prematurely by emergency Caesarean section and required resuscitation and ventilation at birth.

Lawyer Claire Watson said the baby subsequently suffered “profound irreversible brain damage” caused by “acute cardio-respiratory deterioration,” and that he was “ventilator dependent” and his condition had not improved despite “on-going intensive care.”

She advised Justice Russell that removing “life-sustaining intensive care,” including mechanical ventilation and feeding tubes, is “in the child's best interests.”

The boy's parents argued that their son is showing signs of improvement and that he is aware of their presence and responds to them.

“At the end of the day he is still alive,” the boy’s mother told Russell. “The ventilator is helping and supporting that life. Where there is life I don’t think you should get the right to determine whether that should be taken away.”

“He is still alive,” she told the judge. “Miracles do happen.”

The boy's father told the court that while he believes his son “knows what is going on” and was making “improvements,” doctors refused to listen to the parents.

“It seems like they have no consideration as to how we feel or our views about him. We have been told that this child is not even our child any more,” he said.

“I spend a lot of time with him, talking to him. I know when he is listening…we know he is reacting to certain things,” the dad added. “I just cannot believe they can come out with some of these things. I feel it is wrong, very wrong.”

Despite the parents' entreaty for their son to continue receiving life support, Justice Russell gave the hospital permission to disconnect the child, saying she had reached the decision “very sadly” and with “great reluctance.”

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“I have nothing but sympathy for them and admire the love and devotion they have shown,” Russell said.

The evidence presented to the court also indicated that something had “gone wrong” with the boy's care, but no details where provided other than an internal investigation had been carried out and the hospital had been “entirely transparent about what has gone wrong.”

Justice Russell concluded that there had been “multiple failures in the multi-disciplinary team caring for him” and that what had happened had “affected the way his parents feel about his treatment – as it would.”

Lastly the judge ordered that neither the child and his parents, nor the hospital could be identified as long as the baby remained alive.