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Charlotte Wyatt To Celebrate Third Birthday In Hospital
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
October 17, 2006

PORTSMOUTH, ENGLAND--Charlotte Wyatt turns three years old this Saturday.

That's a milestone her parents fought to witness, and one that doctors gave her little hope of achieving.

"It is a happy day for all of us," her father Darren wrote on the family's weblog.

Unfortunately, even though doctors at St. Mary's Hospital have deemed her medically capable of going home, she will celebrate her birthday in the hospital that has been her home since she was born.

Charlotte's mother, Debbie, has said she is not able to take care of Charlotte and her other children. Her father would like to take her home, but he was declared unfit after attempting suicide earlier this year. Social services have been searching for a foster home for months, but a suitable one has yet to be found.

The couple separated at the first of this year, after two years of court battles against the hospital, which successfully fought through the courts for the right to refuse to resuscitate Charlotte if she stops breathing.

Doctors gave Charlotte little hope of surviving at all 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 her disabilities made the quality of her life "intolerable" and that it would be in her best interest to leave her to die if her breathing stopped.

Charlotte has defied the doctors. Now she breathes much more on her own, plays with toys, and eats solid foods.

Charlotte's situation highlights a growing controversy in the United Kingdom and elsewhere between some members of the medical community, family members and disability rights groups over who should make decisions regarding the lives of people with certain disabilities or medical conditions.

"Family break-up taints day of joy for Charlotte" (The Sunday Times),,2087-2404681,00.html
"Mother of disabled Charlotte visits just three times in nine months" (The Daily Mail)
Charlotte Wyatt Weblog
"Charlotte Wyatt: Parents Fight Hospital To Keep Daughter Alive" (Inclusion Daily Express Archives)

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