British Columbia

Baby Mary Jane Pierce case adjourned until mid-September

Mary Jane Pierce remains on life support while the court hearing into who can make the medical decisions for her care has been adjourned until mid-September.

Case will decide who has the right to make medical decisions for the baby on life support

The parents of Mary Jane Pierce, who was born prematurely at 25 weeks, won a temporary injunction to keep the four-month old baby on life support. (Justin Pierce)

Mary Jane Pierce, who was born prematurely at 25 weeks with serious health problems, remains on life-support while the case that will decide whether her parents or guardian have the right to take her off the support will resume in mid-September.

A procedural court hearing on Friday decided that the case should be held by a provincial court judge rather than the Supreme Court of Canada

Mary Jane, who was born in April, is in the neonatal intensive care unit at B.C. Women's Hospital in Vancouver. She has cerebral palsy and has suffered multiple hemorrhages that left her brain damaged.

Penny Washington, the lawyer for the hospital, said the intervention to maintain Mary Jane's condition is burdensome on her body and that she has multiple seizures every day. The lawyer said the discomfort is inconsistent with human dignity.

Jack Hittrich, the lawyer speaking for the parents, said Mary Jane won't be going home but should receive a full medical review and live as long as possible.

Custody issue

Mary Jane's parents, Michelle Arnold and Justin Pierce of Chilliwack, B.C., say they were pressured on Aug. 7 into signing temporary custody of their daughter over to the care of an agency under the province's Ministry of Children and Family Development.

By Aug. 10, the doctor caring for Mary Jane planned to remove the ventilator and transfer the infant to palliative care, according to an affidavit from the parents' lawyer.

Justin Pierce said neither he nor Arnold consented to that plan.

On Aug. 11, shortly before the ventilator was to be removed, a B.C. Supreme Court judge granted a temporary injunction to stop doctors from removing the life-support.

With files from Belle Puri

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