Hospital: Charlotte Wyatt Should Leave Hospital, But Not With
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
April 25, 2006
PORTSMOUTH, ENGLAND--"Charlotte needs to be outside hospital getting the stimulation of the outside world. She needs to be going for walks and mixing with other children. A hospital environment is not ideal for a toddler in Charlotte's situation."
That quote came, not from Charlotte Wyatt's parents, but from a spokesperson at St. Mary's Hospital -- the same hospital that has fought her parents to keep Charlotte from going home. It's the same hospital that has also fought through the courts for the right to refuse treatment for the toddler if she stops breathing -- based on doctors' belief that her disabilities made the quality of her life "intolerable".
Hospital officials said last week that Charlotte's condition has improved to the point that she is ready to leave the hospital. She will not go home with the Wyatt's, however, because the couple is experiencing marital problems and has separated. Social workers said Debbie Wyatt cannot handle the 24-hour care Charlotte needs while tending to Charlotte's siblings.
They said that Darren Wyatt's mental condition is not yet stable enough for him to care for Charlotte. Mr. Wyatt told the Times that he is recovering from a February 3 attempted drug overdose, but agreed that he is not yet ready to bring Charlotte home.
Social services are currently looking for a foster home to care for Charlotte at least temporarily.
Doctors at St. Mary's had given Charlotte little hope of surviving when she was born three months premature on October 21, 2003. They insisted that she had serious heart and lung problems, was deaf and blind, made no movement on her own and felt no sensations except constant pain. They predicted in October 2004 that she would develop a lung infection during that winter and would stop breathing. At the time, the High Court agreed with the hospital that it would be in her best interest to leave her to die if her breathing stopped.
But Charlotte defied the doctors as her parents fought through the courts to force the hospital to treat their daughter the same way they would for any other child who stopped breathing. Then they fought for the right to bring their daughter home, arguing that being with her family would be much better for her girl than the sterile hospital room.
After the couple brought Charlotte home for two successful short visits in December, they had hoped to bring her home to live with them. They then got their names on a waiting list for a larger residence to have more space for Charlotte's medical equipment.
"Baby Charlotte ready to move from hospital" (The Times)