A New Zealand court has remanded in custody a sick baby whose parents prevented the child from undergoing life-saving heart surgery because potential blood donors may be vaccinated against COVID-19.
According to the BBCThe Auckland High Court ordered the four-month-old baby – identified in court documents as baby W – to be placed under partial custody, allowing urgent surgery to correct a heart condition known as pulmonary valve stenosis to proceed.
Baby W’s parents had blocked the operation and sought a court ruling that he receives blood from unvaccinated donors. However, the court ruled that the operation was in the child’s “best interests” and ordered that the boy be placed under the court’s custody “from the date of the order until the completion of his surgery and post-operative recovery”.
According to the BBC, Judge Ian Gault denied the parents’ request for unvaccinated blood, agreeing with health officials that the baby’s survival effectively depended on the application being granted. He emphasized that the parents remain the primary guardians and added that the doctors should keep them informed about their baby’s treatment and condition at all times.
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Justice Gault also ruled that there was “no scientific evidence that there is any Covid-19 vaccine-related risk from blood donated” by vaccinated donors. But he noted that New Zealand’s blood service had provided evidence over the past six months of a “significant increase in potential blood recipients requesting blood from unvaccinated donors or asking for targeted donation. Similar trends have been observed in other countries”.
The case was brought by Auckland’s Te Whatu Ora health service, which acknowledged the case was a “difficult situation for all involved” but stressed that the priority was “the health and well-being” of all children in its care.
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