The release of the BBC's most recent drama 'Best Interests' takes an emotive look at the heart breaking and impossible choices that parents are sometimes forced to make. The harrowing decision of when to say "enough is enough" when it comes to medical intervention is a challenging and difficult discussion for anyone. "Best Interests" provides us with an insight into all perspectives of the heart-breaking decisions that have to be made by parents and professionals alike, and the impact that an illness or life limiting disability can have on individuals and those closest to them.
The show, although a hard watch, brings to mind harrowing cases such as the case of Archie Battersbee. With such heart-wrenching decisions to make, it is easy to see it can be overwhelming for parents and family members to be able to digest the legalities and processes, on top of everything else that they are already having to deal with. Throughout the Court hearing in the last episode, the Judge was clear that they must keep Marnie at the forefront of their mind at all times. The difficulty lay in that, as is the case in so many of these scenarios, that she believed that everybody in the Courtroom felt strongly that they had Marnie's best interests at heart.
Where is Marnie's voice in all of this?
It's a common theme throughout the show that everyone involved seems to state, and indeed believe, that they are the ones "looking out for Marnie's best interests". With so many parties seeking to achieve the same objective and coming to different conclusions, how can we be sure what really is in Marnie's best interests and where is Marnie's voice in all of this?
We meet Marnie's solicitor, Greg Richardson, in the second episode. Greg is in a tricky position as a solicitor as he is tasked with being the legal representative of a child whom he has never spoken to and, unfortunately, is obviously unable to speak with Marnie herself to gauge her wishes. As such his only option is to spend time with all parties to gain perspective on the case and make a judgement on what he thinks is in Marnie's best interest. Although Greg is tasked with acting within Marnie's best interests, it was heart-warming to see how much compassion he demonstrated towards the family, even going as far as giving Marnie's father, Andrew, a pep talk during the hearing and ensure that he took care of himself. This demonstrated a human element to solicitors that often at times is not shown, which is an extremely important prospect to have when working with such emotive cases.
What can be learned from Marnie?
Despite being a difficult and emotional subject, the show does demonstrate that there is a support system out there for people who find themselves in this position, albeit a system they may not yet be familiar with. Clearly it is hoped that increasing public awareness will mean that anyone finding themselves in need of engaging with this system will have at least some familiarity with it, and that can only be of benefit.
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