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Charlotte Wyatt Leaves Hospital For Christmas, But Not With Parents
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
December 21, 2006

PORTSMOUTH, ENGLAND--Three-year-old Charlotte Wyatt finally left the hospital -- four days before Christmas.

Charlotte was discharged from St. Mary's Hospital for the first time Wednesday. Officials at the hospital said she would live with foster parents who are experienced in dealing with children that have disabilities and medical conditions.

The move was a bittersweet moment for her family, who had battled with doctors through the courts for their daughter's right to life-saving treatment, and their right to take her home.

"Leaving the hospital is a milestone we have waited long and prayed earnestly for her to reach, but while we rejoice with her we feel at the same time as if our hearts were torn out as we're told to say goodbye," read a December 19 entry on the family's website. "We will continue fighting for her, and hope and pray she will soon be truly at home, among people who know and love her."

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 Charlotte's 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 defied the doctors, however, and now she breathes almost entirely on her own, plays with toys, and eats solid foods.

Her mother, Debbie, has said she is not able to take care of Charlotte and her other children. Her father, Darren, would like to take her home, but he was declared unfit after attempting suicide earlier this year. The couple separated at the first of this year, after two years of court battles against the hospital.

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

Charlotte Wyatt Weblog
"Charlotte Wyatt: Parents Fight Hospital To Keep Daughter Alive" (Inclusion Daily Express Archives)

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