We report the progress of an 8-year-old child with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) type 1. The parents elected in infancy that the child should be on long-term ventilation, but all attempts to establish this care at home have failed, so the child remains ventilated in the hospital. The leader of the long-term ventilation team reports on the child's progress and describes a week in the child's life. Two paediatricians argue that the benefits of long-term ventilation have not and do not compensate the child for the burdens imposed on her by this treatment and explain why they would not support the withdrawal of long-term ventilation now. They argue that long-term ventilation might have been avoided by applying to a court of law when the child was an infant. An ethicist discusses ethical aspects of decision-making in SMA type 1.