London, England (CNN) -- A baby born with a severe birth defect put its parents on opposing sides in a British court Monday over whether to switch off the child's life support.
The mother sides with doctors and favors disconnecting the baby's respirator. The father took the case to the High Court in London to stop them.
The child's life is "miserable, sad and pitiful," lawyers for the hospital said in court Monday.
They say the child's lungs fill with fluid every few hours -- giving him the sensation he is choking -- and that doctors must then use suction to remove the fluid, also causing the child to suffer.
The father took the case to court to stop them.
He says the baby can play and recognize its parents. His lawyers plan to show videos of the baby in court to demonstrate he responds to the world around himself.
What kind of birth defect is this? According to the story:
The baby, known as RB, is about one year old and suffers from congenital myasthenic syndrome, a rare genetic condition which means he cannot breathe on his own.
"It causes severe muscle weakness, feeding and respiratory problems, and the disease is progressive," the hospital said in a statement. [...]
The Mayo Clinic, one of the leading hospitals in the United States, says on its Web site that "different forms of CMS vary widely in their symptoms, from mild to severely disabling. With accurate diagnosis and appropriate therapy, even potentially fatal forms can usually be treated successfully."
Did you get that? This isn't a condition for which there is no hope (not that that would make it moral to end the baby's life, of course). This is a condition for which, apparently, if the story is accurate, treatment exists.
At least in the United States.
Where hospitals aren't owned by the government.
And where it's not customary, at least not yet, to treat a patient's disease by killing the patient.