The father of a girl with brain damage on a ventilator in the UK has asked to be taken to Israel for treatment after a British court ruled that her care can be stopped.
The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, says he cannot agree with any course of action that could shorten the life of two-year-old daughter Alta Fixsler because of his ultra-Orthodox Jewish faith.
Instead, he wants a team of doctors from Israel to come to Manchester, where Alta is in hospital, to present treatment options with the ultimate goal of taking her abroad.
It comes after Israel’s Health Minister Yuli Edelstein last week appealed to the British government and said the Jewish state is willing to take responsibility for its care.
Alta has been on life support since birth after suffering brain damage from lack of oxygen that required help to breathe and eat.
Last month, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust was given permission to withdraw its care. Her father will find out today whether he can appeal the ruling.
Alta Fixsler (pictured) suffered a serious brain injury at birth and her doctors say she can’t breathe, eat or drink without advanced medical treatment
“I want to keep my daughter, I want to be able to go to Israel and take my daughter,” he told Reuters news agency.
“By British law she is an Israeli citizen, not a British citizen. We waited a long time for a child, when she was born she had a lack of oxygen and that caused brain damage.
“We believe she is not suffering and we want the right to keep her. We want to do the best for her… Let me take my daughter and go to Israel.”
Presenting their case to the Supreme Court last month, medics said Alta has severe brain damage and needs “sophisticated medical treatment” for basic functions such as breathing, eating and drinking.
They said there is no prospect of recovery and no treatment that could substantially improve her condition.
In court, lawyers argued for the girl to be taken to Israel so that her treatment can continue.
But during his May 28 ruling, Justice MacDonald said the transfer would expose Alta to further pain and discomfort with no medical benefit.
“All parties accept that the treatment options now available to Alta offer no prospect of recovery,” he added.
“The parents cannot be criticized for making a different decision based on the religious laws that govern their way of life.
“But if I apply the secular legal principles I must, and with due regard for the parents’ deeply held religious beliefs, I cannot agree with their assessment and must act accordingly.”
Mr Justice MacDonald concluded: “It is not in Alta’s best interest to continue life-prolonging medical treatment, and […] it is in her interest to have a palliative care regime.’
Israeli Health Minister Yuli Edelstein (left) has appealed to the British government through his counterpart, Matt Hancock (right), to overturn a Supreme Court decision to allow doctors to take Alta out of life support. to get.
Barrister Victoria Butler-Cole QC, who represents the family, said: “They want her to be treated in Israel by doctors who share their religious beliefs and ethical framework, and are struggling to understand why the trust doesn’t agree.
“Hospitals in Israel are willing to accept Alta, the risks of transmission are very low and the costs of safely transporting Alta are covered.
“The parents beg the confidence to reconsider their position.”
In a statement released after the ruling, Mat Culverhouse, an attorney with the Irwin Mitchell law firm who represents Alta and her family, said: “Obviously, Alta’s parents are disappointed with today’s decision.
“They are devastated at the prospect of her treatment being withdrawn and are now considering their options to appeal.
“We will continue to support them during this difficult time.”
A fundraising website set up for Alta has raised £275,907 as of Monday afternoon.
The page claims that at one point her condition had improved to such an extent that doctors were preparing to fire her for home care.
“Not long ago, the hospital was ready to send Alta home—that’s where every child belongs! The hospital trained Alta’s parents to care for her independently.
“Unfortunately, the move was delayed due to some complications,” the site reads.
Alta suffered irreparable brain damage during birth. She has since been hooked up to a ventilator at the Royal Children’s Hospital (pictured)