Parents told to switch off life support as it ‘cost too much’

Thu, 31 Dec 2015

Parents who were told by doctors to end life support for their premature daughter because of the cost have now celebrated her third birthday.

Faith Snell was born at 25 weeks in December 2012, weighing just 1lb 2oz.

She spent the first six weeks of her life in intensive care after suffering a brain haemorrhage during an emergency caesarean section.

Quality of life

Faith lost 60 per cent of the function in the left side of her brain, and doctors told parents Leanne and Anthony that she would not be able to walk, talk or have any quality of life.

Leanne and Anthony had already lost a child, Zander, who was stillborn at 22 weeks in 2010.

The couple were twice recommended to turn off their daughter Faith’s life support machine.

‘More important’

…my daughter’s life is a lot more important than moneyLeanne Snell

Leanne said that on the second occasion, doctors said “Are you sure? It’s going to cost us a lot of money”.

She told the doctors, “my daughter’s life is a lot more important than money”.

Leanne and Anthony took Faith home in April 2013 expecting her to be on oxygen for four years – yet a week later she was breathing on her own.

First steps

She now suffers from hemiplegia, which means she will never have much movement in the right-hand side of her body.

With the help of physiotherapy, Faith learned to crawl at 18 months and took her first steps aided by leg splints after she had turned two.

Leanne said: “She can talk more than they thought she would be able to. She can play, she can draw and she’s really good at counting.”

Normal life

“Her consultant thinks that she will just live a normal life and go to a normal school”.

“She is a bit clumsy and she gets frustrated with things like eating because she can’t use her right hand so she can’t feed herself.

“But I just want people to know that it is not all bad”, she added.

Angry

Referring to the hospital’s advice to turn off Faith’s life support, Leanne said: “Seeing how well she has done now I feel angry and sad that they even gave us the option”.

“If we did we wouldn’t know what we do now. Every time Faith does something new I think ‘If I’d turned the machines off I never would have seen this’.”

The Christian Institute’s ‘Choose Life’ series highlighted stories of parents who chose not to abort.

Life expectancy

Writer and broadcaster Hilary McDowell was given a life expectancy of three weeks when she was born.

Doctors said she would never walk and possibly never speak but today her success in many fields means she travels the globe for writing and speaking engagements.

She said: “Every child deserves life”.