Couple fight for son’s right to life

By Leon Symons, November 13, 2008

A children's hospital in America has sought a legal ruling that it can turn off the support systems of a 12-year-old boy suffering from a severe form of brain cancer and whom they believe to be brain-dead.

The hospital, the Children's National Medical Centre in Washington DC, wanted to override the wishes of the boy's parents, Eluzer and Miriam Brody from Brooklyn, New York. The parents argued that under Jewish law there was no such thing as brain death and that other systems in their son's body were still functioning, albeit with mechanical support.

The hospital has taken the case to court, arguing in that "scarce resources are being used for the preservation of a dead body".

The family's lawyer is challenging the hospital's plans on grounds that the family's religious beliefs must be respected under federal law. "Their religious beliefs are entitled to respect," he said.

Last updated: 3:42pm, November 13 2008