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Health minister appeals to UK counterpart to intervene in case of ill toddler

Edelstein asks Health Secretary Hancock to help the family of Alta Fixsler receive permission to bring her to Israel for treatment

The Royal Manchester Children's Hospital, where Alta Fixsler has been treated since her birth. (Wikimedia Commons)
The Royal Manchester Children's Hospital, where Alta Fixsler has been treated since her birth. (Wikimedia Commons)

Health Minister Yuli Edelstein has appealed to his British counterpart to intervene in the case of a severely ill toddler, hospitalized in the UK.

Alta Fixsler, 2, is currently being treated in palliative care in Manchester, England, as she cannot breathe or eat without medical help, due to brain damage suffered at birth. Her parents have been waging a legal battle to transfer her to Israel to pursue treatment.

Late last month, the UK High Court ruled that it is in Fixsler’s “best interests” to have life support withdrawn since she has “no prospect of recovery.”

Edelstein wrote a letter to UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock asking him to allow Fixsler’s transfer to Israel and prevent her life support from being removed.

“According to the attached legal opinion on behalf of the family, which we accept, Israeli law mandates that in circumstances where the parents oppose the cessation of medical treatment that could lead to the child’s death and that life expectancy exceeds six months, medical treatment must not cease,” the letter reads, according to Hebrew media reports.

File: Minister of Health Yuli Edelstein at a press conference in Jerusalem, on February 10, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The letter noted that Fixsler’s parents are “Orthodox Jews and Israeli citizens, who live their lives according to Jewish law, and are interested in transferring Alta to one of two Israeli hospitals that are prepared to treat her.” Edelstein requested that Hancock assist in allowing the toddler to be flown to Israel.

Fixsler’s parents, who belong to Manchester’s ultra-Orthodox community, have been battling for months to bring her to Israel for treatment. But attorneys for the Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, who have responsibility for Fixsler’s care, have argued that such a move will only cause her more discomfort since she has no chance of improving.

In the High Court ruling last month, Justice Alistair MacDonald said that transferring the toddler to Israel would “expose Alta to further pain and discomfort during the course of transfer for no medical benefit in circumstances where all parties accept that the treatment options now available for Alta provide no prospect of recovery.”

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