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British court rules brain-damaged Jewish girl’s life support can be withdrawn

Judge says Alta Fixsler, 2, has ‘no prospect of recovery’; her ‘devastated’ parents say they want to transfer her to an Israeli hospital and are considering appeal options

A view of the Royal Courts Of Justice, which houses the High Court, in London, Jan. 19, 2021. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
A view of the Royal Courts Of Justice, which houses the High Court, in London, Jan. 19, 2021. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

A judge at the United Kingdom’s High Court ruled Friday that life support treatment for a seriously ill two-year-old Jewish girl can be withdrawn as it is in her “best interests.”

Alta Fixsler was placed in palliative care as she cannot breathe or eat without medical help, British media reported.

Justice Alistair MacDonald said that Fixsler, who has brain damage, has “no prospect of recovery,” and ruled that “it is in Alta’s best interests for the treatment that is currently sustaining her precious life now to be withdrawn.”

Her parents said their Jewish faith cannot allow them to agree to the move, which would lead to Alta’s death, and wish instead to take her to an Israeli hospital for treatment.

The family’s barrister Victoria Butler-Cole said they “implored the [hospital] trust to reconsider their position” and allow them to take their daughter to a hospital in Israel which “share[s] their religious beliefs and ethical framework.”

However, MacDonald ruled that although the “parents cannot be criticized for having reached a different decision informed by the religious laws that govern their way of life, but applying the secular legal principles that I must… I cannot agree with their assessment and am required to act accordingly.”

He added that taking the child to Israel would cause her discomfort “for no medical benefit.”

A lawyer representing the family said they were “devastated” but were considering options for an appeal to the ruling.

“Naturally, 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 They are devastated at the prospect of her treatment being withdrawn and are now considering their options with regard to appealing,” said Mat Culverhouse.

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