Mother of girl at centre of life-support fight says she will not give up

A single mother whose five-year-old daughter is in a vegetative state and at the centre of a life-support treatment dispute has told a High Court judge that she will not give up.

Doctors treating Pippa Knight at the Evelina Children’s Hospital in London say life-support treatment should end and hospital bosses have asked Mr Justice Poole to rule that the little girl should be allowed to die.

Pippa’s mother, Paula Parfitt, 41, of Strood, Kent, disagrees.

Pippa Knight with her mother
Paula Parfitt with daughter Pippa (Sinclairslaw/PA)

Mr Justice Poole is considering evidence at a public hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London on Monday.He has been told that Pippa’s father is dead.

Ms Parfitt wants doctors to allow Pippa to be treated at home. She says Pippa should be given a tracheostomy and attached to a portable ventilator.

Doctors treating her say such moves would not be in Pippa’s best interests.

Ms Parfitt told the judge that she believed in “God’s law”, and “God’s law” was to preserve life.

“I just will not give up on her,” Ms Parfitt told the judge on Monday.

“If there is an opportunity for her to go home then it is what God would want.”

Ms Parfitt said nobody knew what might happen and said there might be changes in medical science.

“She needs to be given the opportunity because nobody knows,” said Ms Parfitt. “I don’t think you know if anything will work unless you try it.”

Ms Parfitt added: “I want my daughter to go home, have a tracheostomy and portable ventilation, and whatever will be, will be.”

A barrister representing the NHS trust which runs the hospital told the judge that the case was tragic.

But Michael Mylonas QC said there was no hope that Pippa would improve.

“The decision to bring this application is made only after the most anxious consideration and review of all the available evidence,” said Mr Mylonas, who represents Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust.

“Given Pippa’s position, her inability to sense pleasure, the impossibility of her deriving any benefit from prolonged life and the absence of any hope that the future might bring some improvement in her condition, the applicant trust regretfully submits that the appropriate order is the declaration in the terms sought.”

The hearing is due to last several days.

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