03:32, May 31 78 0 theguardian.com

2018-05-31 03:32:08
Funeral of brain-damaged baby Isaiah Haastrup to take place

The funeral of Isaiah Haastrup, the profoundly brain-damaged baby at the centre of a right-to-life court battle, is taking place on Thursday.

Isaiah, who sustained a catastrophic brain injury at birth, will be laid to rest three months after he died when doctors at King’s College hospital in south London took him off the ventilator he had been on since birth.

The hospital trust won a high court battle to withdraw life support against his parents’ wishes, after the judge heard he was unable to move or breathe independently, and was likely to die within minutes of being removed from the ventilator.

The court had heard Isaiah’s injuries were due to oxygen deprivation at birth. He was born at the hospital.

Isaiah’s father, Lanre Haastrup, said legal proceedings had been issued against the hospital trust, alleging negligence over the birth.

Isaiah died on 7 March after his parents had exhausted all legal means to prevent his life support from being removed. He is being buried in Camberwell, south London, alongside his maternal grandmother, his father said.

The precise cause of death is yet to be established and an inquest would be held, he added.

Haastrup, who works for a legal firm, claimed his son’s condition was down to problems experienced at birth. “The hospital caused the problem,” he claimed. “The narrative is not that Isaiah had a problem and [the hospital] were trying to help him, and couldn’t do any more for him. That’s not the narrative.”

He and Isaiah’s mother, Takesha Thomas, fought in UK courts and then failed to get the European court of human rights to overturn the high court decision, he said.

The court had heard trust between Isaiah’s parents and medical staff had broken down. Haastrup was banned on occasions from visiting his son.

He told the Guardian it was “particularly difficult” for the couple that their son was being treated and died at the same hospital in which he was born. He hoped lessons could be learned over how hospitals deal with such situations.

Isaiah had defied medical expectations by managing to breathe unaided for eight hours, and had vindicated his parents’ legal battle to keep him alive, he said.

“For me, I feel there is nothing else I could have done,” Haastrup said. “So I feel proud of him. He left the world proving the doctors wrong, in my opinion. He’s my soldier and he proved that the fight we were fighting wasn’t in vain.”

He hoped “some good things” could come of lessons learned in his son’s short life, and in the issues the case highlighted. “He is not a nobody. He represented something. He stood for something,” he said.

“And he is never going to be gone. He is always going to be in my heart.”

At the time of of Isaiah’s death, a spokesman for King’s College hospital NHS foundation trust said it recognised how difficult it had been for the family and said Isaiah had sustained an irreversible brain injury following a rare and life-threatening obstetric emergency during his mother’s labour.

The trust “always provided Isaiah with the very best care, and the decision to apply to the court to withdraw treatment was only made after careful consideration and after consultation with the family”, the spokesman said. The medical evidence in court was clear that once ventilation was withdrawn, it would be impossible to predict how long Isaiah would breathe unaided, he added.

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