Supreme Court judge rules that life support treatment can be withdrawn for a seriously ill two-year-old girl

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Supreme Court Judge Reaches Life Support Treatment Can Be Withdrawn for Seriously Ill Two-Year-Old Girl Despite Parents Wanting to Keep Her Alive and Take Her to Israel

  • Alta Fixsler cannot breathe, eat, or drink without treatment after a brain injury
  • Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust is responsible for its care
  • Asked Supreme Court Justice to decide whether to withdraw life support treatment
  • Lawyers representing the trust said there is ‘no prospect of her getting better’

A Supreme Court judge has ruled that life-support treatment can be withdrawn for a seriously ill two-year-old girl, despite the fact that her parents want to keep her alive.

Alta Fixsler suffered a serious brain injury at birth, and her doctors say she cannot breathe, eat, or drink without advanced medical treatment.

Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust – who is responsible for her care – asked a Supreme Court judge to rule whether it is in Alta’s best interests to withdraw life support treatment and place her on a palliative care scheme.

Lawyers representing the trust told the court that there is “no prospect of her ever getting better.”

But Alta’s parents said their Jewish faith means they cannot agree to steps that would lead to her death and they want to take her to a hospital in Israel.

In a verdict on Friday, Mr Justice MacDonald ruled that ‘it is in Alta’s best interests to discontinue the treatment that currently supports her precious life’.

Alta Fixsler (pictured) suffered severe brain damage at birth and her doctors say she cannot breathe, eat or drink without advanced medical treatment

Alta Fixsler (pictured) suffered severe brain damage at birth and her doctors say she cannot breathe, eat or drink without advanced medical treatment

The family’s attorney, Victoria Butler-Cole QC, said earlier: “ They would like to see her treated in Israel by doctors who share their religious beliefs and ethical framework, and who struggle to understand why the trust is not agrees.

Hospitals in Israel are willing to accept Alta, the risks of transmission are very low and the cost of transporting Alta safely will be covered.

“The parents beg the confidence to reconsider their position.”

But Mr Justice MacDonald said taking the young girl to Israel for treatment to continue there would expose Alta to further pain and discomfort during the transfer without medical benefit in circumstances where all parties accept the treatment options now available for Alta no prospect of recovery ‘.

In a verdict on Friday, Mr Justice MacDonald (pictured) ruled that 'it is in Alta's best interests that the treatment that is currently sustaining her precious life is now withdrawn'

In a verdict on Friday, Mr Justice MacDonald (pictured) ruled that 'it is in Alta's best interests that the treatment that is currently sustaining her precious life is now withdrawn'

In a verdict on Friday, Mr Justice MacDonald (pictured) ruled that ‘it is in Alta’s best interests that the treatment that is currently sustaining her precious life is now withdrawn’

The judge added: “The parents cannot be criticized for having made a different decision under the religious laws that govern their way of life.

“But by applying the secular principles of law that I must, and respecting the parents’ deep-seated religious beliefs, I cannot agree with their assessment and must act accordingly.”

Mr Justice MacDonald concluded: ‘It is not in Alta’s interests that life-supporting medical treatment continues, and […] it is in her interest to introduce palliative care. ‘

In a statement released after the ruling, Mat Culverhouse, an attorney at law firm Irwin Mitchell who represents Alta and her family, said: “ Of course, Alta’s parents are disappointed with today’s decision.

Heartbroken at the prospect of her treatment being discontinued, they are now considering their options to appeal.

“We will continue to support them in this difficult time.”

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