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This dad ignores doctor's advice to pull the plug on his one-year-old daughter: Days later, she opens her eyes

Posted February 23

Is it really a life if the child can't breath on her own? Doctors say to pull the plug, but her father begs the courts to tell the doctors no. (Deseret Photo)

The doctors said one-year-old Marwa will never be able to breath on her own again, but her parents begged to just give her more time. For the second time in a matter of months, a French court has to decide between ordering the breathing machine to continue or be turned off.

Marwa was brought to the Timone Hospital in Marseille, France on Sept. 25, 2016. She was infected with a enterovirus, which can cause severe neurological and organ damage. Doctors placed Marwa in a medical coma, but less than 10 days later doctors planned on turning off the machines that kept her alive.

Marwa’s father, Mohamed Bouchenafa, was devastated, but he refused to let them and started a petition, Never Without Marwa. He and his family saw some movement and believed that their Marwa was conscious despite what doctors said, according to a local news article.

On Marwa’s Facebook support group Bouchenafa said, “To save my daughter I had to go to court and use social networks because I felt helpless against this decision.”

The courts ruled in favor of Marwa’s family and told the hospital to keep up Marwa’s treatment for another two months. Marwa’s family was relieved and returned to their daughter’s hospital room.

On Nov. 22, 2016, Marwa’s eyes opened.

The family rejoiced and was filled with hope that their daughter would live.

“Her treatment continues, but we see progress every day and that gives us a lot of hope,” Her father said to a local news site in November. “When I speak to her, she hears my voice, she reacts, sometimes even smiles.”

Since then, Marwa has made some progress according to the Facebook support group and her family...but according to the doctors, not enough progress has been made.

The family went to court again in January.

The doctors believe that Maraw would never be able to breath on her own and be serverly disabled for the rest of her life.

“It's quite possible that she stays crippled forever, but since when do we pull someone just because he is disabled? We accept the handicaps of our daughter,” said Bouchenafa in response to a Facebook comment asking why the doctor's wanted to pull the plug.

The courts again ruled in favor of the family, and treatment was ordered to continue. On Feb. 8, 2017 Bouchenafa thanked all those who had supported his daughter.

The good news didn’t last long.

The very next day Bouchenafa found out that the hospital was appealing the court’s decision.

“The hospital wants to kill my daughter, even after having won her right to live in front of the court; the hospital just [had] to appeal. Why this determination to take her life???????!!!!!!” said Bouchenafa on a Facebook post.

Now the family waits. Will Marwa remain on the breathing machine or will the plug be pulled?

Editor's note: all quotations have been translated from French to English and have been edited for grammar, punctuation and clarity.

Stacie Simpson is a journalism student. She loves listening to, gathering and sharing stories and advice to help others improve their quality of life. She spends most of her free time with her husband, ballroom dancing, reading and writing.

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