The parents of seriously-ill Charlotte Wyatt yesterday lost the latest round of their battle to overturn a court order allowing doctors not to resuscitate the 22-month-old if she stops breathing.
Darren Wyatt, aged 33, and his wife, Debbie, aged 24, who have been told by the hospital treating their daughter that she has made "remarkable progress", failed to persuade the Court of Appeal the order should now be rescinded.
Doctors at St Mary's Hospital in Portsmouth won the legal right last October not to resuscitate Charlotte after arguing that her brain and other organs were so seriously damaged she had "no feeling other than continuing pain".
Mr Justice Hedley, who granted the order, said he did not believe "any further aggressive treatment, even if necessary to prolong her life, is in her best interests".
Against the odds and medical opinion, she survived the winter.
In April this year, Charlotte's parents failed to have the October judgment overturned, leading to yesterday's proceedings.
After a full-day hearing, Lords Justices Laws, Wall and Lloyd rejected the couple's appeal.
But the judges said a review of the case ordered by Mr Justice Hedley should be " accelerated", with a directions hearing next month.
Lord Justice Laws said the court "attached a high importance to the up-to-date position being properly investigated" with a view to a decision on whether the order should "now continue".
The couple's counsel, David Wolfe, said: "Debbie and Darren say that the time has come to lift the threat that has hung over Charlotte and her family for a year. And that is why they bring this appeal."
Granting the original order in October, Mr Justice Hedley said he did not believe "any further aggressive treatment, even if necessary to prolong her life, is in her best interests".
According to her parents, who describe her as a "fighter", she now smiles, reaches out to them and tries to talk.
After the result was announced, Mr Wyatt said: "We are keeping our fingers crossed."
The couple's solicitor, Richard Stein, said: "They are pleased that the court recognised Charlotte's continued improvement. The doctor called her improvement remarkable and one of the judges called it astonishing.
"We have the hearing in the autumn when all the evidence will be heard before the court and we are very optimistic that at that point the declaration will be dismissed."
Earlier David Lock, for Portsmouth NHS Trust, said the quality of care given to Charlotte by hospital staff was "superb".
He said: "This is not a case about who cares most for Charlotte."
He told the judges: "You have seen the evidence of the precariousness of Charlotte. The doctors need to know what to do."
To remove Mr Justice Hedley's October declaration "would place the most appalling strain upon the nursing and medical staff".
The improvements Charlotte had made were "very welcome", he said, but she remained a profoundly sick child.
The court heard Charlotte has gained weight, is being given pureed food, has grown in length and can now show "what may be enjoyment of things".
Mr Wolfe said Charlotte had previously been a " prisoner" in the oxygen head box, but she had defied all expectations.
Previously nothing other than the head box or mask would deliver sufficient oxygen, but she currently spends a few hours each day on nasal cannulae, which convey oxygen to her.
During those periods she is seated in a chair, giving her a better quality of life.
She had not yet been able to go home, said Mr Wolfe, but what had been ruled out before could now be contemplated and "is now being discussed as a real possibility".
Charlotte was smiling and she "gets positive pleasure". Previously her life had negatives and "no positives", but that had changed.