Specialist says brain-damaged girl at centre of dispute will not recover

A specialist caring for a brain-damaged five-year-old girl at the centre of a High Court life-support dispute has told a judge that doctors would keep treating the youngster if they thought she would recover.

But she told Mr Justice Poole that there was no evidence to suggest that Pippa Knight, who is in a vegetative state, was going to improve.

Doctors treating Pippa at the Evelina Children’s Hospital in London say life-support treatment should end.

Hospital bosses have asked Mr Justice Poole to rule that ending treatment, and allowing Pippa to die, would be lawful and in her best interests.

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

She has told the judge that she believes in “God’s law” and “God’s law” is to preserve life.

Pippa Knight legal case
Pippa Knight legal case

The judge has been told that Pippa’s father is dead.

Mr Justice Poole is considering evidence at a public hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London and has visited Pippa.

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.

The specialist, who cannot be named, told Mr Justice Poole that a team of 15 nurses, working in shifts, would be needed to care for Pippa at home.

She said moving Pippa home would be “no small undertaking” and might be stressful for Ms Parfitt.

“I think Paula genuinely believes that, given time, Pippa will recover,” she said.

“If that were true, if I believed that Pippa was likely to recover, we would continue with whatever level of support was likely to achieve that.”

She said she understood that Ms Parfitt was in an “unbearable” position.

But she said allowing Pippa to go home would not benefit the youngster, and told the judge: “There is no evidence that Pippa is going to improve.”

Pippa Knight legal case
Pippa Knight legal case

The judge has been told how Pippa had been diagnosed with “acute necrotising encephalopathy” and had brain damage.

He heard that she had become ill when she was just 20 months old.

Lawyers told him that she had been in and out of hospital ever since then, and had been in the Evelina since January 2019.

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.

He said the decision to bring the application was made “only after the most anxious consideration”.

The hearing is expected to end on Friday.