French Hospital Found Guilty of Taking Excessive Measures to Save Child

French Hospital Found Guilty of Taking Excessive Measures to Save Child

A French judge has ruled that a hospital in Orange, France was guilty of “unreasonable obstinacy” in its efforts to save a newborns life.

The verdict is over the birth of a child in December 2002. According to, the baby’s heartbeat failed during delivery and after twenty-five minutes of resuscitation efforts, the doctor informed parents the child was dead. Staff, however, continued to work on the baby, soon reviving a heartbeat. Due  to trauma from the aggressive efforts used to save the baby’s life, the child now suffers from severe mental and physical disabilities.

The parents brought the case to court, seeking 500,000 euros in damages.

The Judge ruled in the parents’ favor, stating, “By acting this way without taking into account the highly probable harmful consequences for the child, the doctors demonstrated unreasonable obstinacy … that constituted a medical error of a nature which engages the responsibility of the Orange hospital.”

The ruling, unprecedented in France, poses a very real threat to the life of all children born with disabilities as it imposes consideration of quality of life on medical professionals in those moments when they should focus on nothing but the continuation of life. Once quality of life becomes the greatest factor in life and death decisions, the vulnerable and disabled become subject to the dictates of those appointed to judge what a quality life entails.

As Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director of Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, said in relation to the case, “If someone is alive, it should simply be deemed that their life is worthy of life, and we should not be judging that life as having value or somehow being a life that should not have happened. Being alive should be enough.”

  • Matt Spark
    Posted at 14:39h, 23 November

    I wonder if the child will ever be able to express their love for life or for the parents. How would the parents then go about telling the child “We would prefer you were dead”.
    Considering the parents attitude toward their own flesh and blood, I would question their competence as parents to reasonably provide for the child.
    Perhaps the judge could have ruled that the child be taken into care instead of rewarding a cash payout.
    But more than likely the pursuit of money to further the care of the child was considered more important than the means by which it was done and the argument pursued will lead to many more unfavourable outcomes.

  • Michelle
    Posted at 15:38h, 05 December

    Wow…I have to say, I’m in shock over this story…
    I thought for certain that the parents would have been so grateful to those that were not willing to give up on their child…only to find out that those at the hospital cared more for this infant than the parents themselves! As a child I always tried to save the lives of hurting/dying animals, not willing to give up until I knew there was nothing more I could do…how much more so should be done for a human being! The actions of these parents are truly inconceivable to me. Children with disabilities require even more love and attention than healthy ones…not less! I say WELL DONE to those who tried so hard to save this little one’s life. I’m sorry you had to pay such a heavy cost just for doing what’s right!
    God Bless You!

  • cassandra
    Posted at 20:56h, 29 December

    The child was dead ! It died naturally due to the circumstances of its birth and its condition.As the mother of 2 children with disabilities I would like to remind those who condone the unusual effort in bringing the child back to life that people as a rule are cruel and careless to those that society judges to be different. Our family has suffered atrocius discrimination and my children have suffered unspeakably at school and in the wider community.Instead of love and support we have been isolated. Death is sometimes a blessing and natures course or possible Gods love.Sometimes intervention is wrong. After all the responsibility ends there and the family must go the rest of way alone and bear their own suffering.

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