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Judge ordered move saying she had 'no chance of of recovery'

UK Jewish toddler Alta Fixsler dies after being removed from life support

Manchester girl had been at center of protracted legal battle by parents to keep her on life-saving machines or have her transferred to Israel for continued care

Alta Fixsler lies in hospital in Manchester, England, in 2019. (Courtesy of the family via JTA)
Alta Fixsler lies in hospital in Manchester, England, in 2019. (Courtesy of the family via JTA)

Alta Fixsler, 2, died Monday when her life support was turned off following an extensive, but ultimately futile, legal battle by her parents, a family spokesperson said.

“Sad news, little Alta Fixsler’s life support was turned off this afternoon and she died at the hospice with her parents by her side,” the representative of parents Chaya and Abraham Fixsler said.

Fixsler had been treated in palliative care in Manchester, England, as she could not breathe or eat without medical help due to brain damage suffered at birth.

Her life support was turned off after the UK High Court ruled earlier in the year that it was in her “best interests,” since she had “no prospect of recovery.”

The court also rejected an appeal by the parents, who belong to Manchester’s ultra-Orthodox community, to let her go to Israel for treatment.

Attorneys for the Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, which had responsibility for Fixsler’s care, argued that such a move would only cause her more discomfort since she had no chance of improving.

In the High Court ruling in May, 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.”

According to the ultra-Orthodox Hamodia newspaper, Fixsler was with her parents, who kissed her as she was taken off the machine. A minyan, or quorum of men, also surrounded her bed, offering prayers.

The paper said she survived for a further 90 minutes before she died.

In June Israel’s then-president Reuven Rivlin issued a direct plea to Prince Charles to intervene in the case, calling it “a matter of grave and urgent humanitarian importance.”

“It is the fervent wish of her parents, who are devoutly religious Jews and Israeli citizens, that their daughter be brought to Israel,” Rivlin wrote. “Their religious beliefs directly oppose ceasing medical treatment that could extend her life and have made arrangements for her safe transfer and continued treatment in Israel.”

US Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer also raised the issue in a meeting last month with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Schumer told Hamodiya that he condemned the British decision.

“I extend my prayers and support for the Fixsler family during this very difficult time. May Alta’s memory be a blessing,” Schumer said. “I continue to believe the policy followed here was wrong on many levels and regret that our multiple, and legally and morally, well-grounded pleas were unheeded by the British authorities.”

Reports said she would be brought to Israel for burial after a funeral ceremony held late Monday in Manchester.

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