A High Court judge has ruled against the plea from the parents of Alta Fixsler to be allowed to bring their two-year-old daughter home to die.
Avrohom and Chaya Fixsler have tried desperately to enable their daughter, who suffered catastrophic brain damage at birth, to continue on life support, going through several court cases in dispute with Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust. The Fixlers mobilized international support for their request to be allowed to take Alta to either Israel or the USA where the life-sustaining treatment could be continued, but were refused permission to do so, even though there were funds available to cover the costs.
Having accepted that there was nothing more they could do, their final request on behalf of their daughter was that she should be able to pass away at home, with her parents at her side. However, on Wednesday Mr. Justice MacDonald ruled in the Family Division of the High Court that the withdrawal of treatment must take place in a children’s hospice. In a written ruling he said, “I am satisfied that this option best accommodates Alta’s welfare need for specialist care at the end of her life under a reliable, safe and sustainable system of high calibre care protected from disruption, whilst allowing, in so far as possible and consistent with Alta’s best interests, the family and the community to perform the sacred religious obligations of the Orthodox Jewish faith.”
The Fixslers are concerned that since the hospice is some 25 minutes’ drive from their home in North Manchester, they might not be able to be with Alta at the crucial time.
Rabbi Moshe Dovid Niederman of the UJO of Williamsburg, a leading advocate with American government officials on behalf of the Fixslers, told Hamodia on Wednesday that in his decades of community activism “this day is by far my worst.”
“Reading a document mandating that a hospital, which is supposed to save lives, will be disconnecting machines, killing a young girl, would be shocking if happened anywhere,” Rabbi Niederman said. “But the fact that this is being done in the United Kingdom, a democratic and free country — despite an international outpouring of advocacy on Alta’s behalf — makes it is all the more unbelievable and horrifying.
“We reiterate our call to the NHS and the British government: It is not too late to save Alta’s life. All we ask is that you allow her to leave the country, and go to the American or Israeli hospitals that are ready and willing to treat her.”
Readers are asked to daven for the refuah sheleimah of Alta bas Alta Chaya, besoch she’ar cholei Yisrael.