Alta Fixsler: European court rejects appeal over Jewish girl’s life support

The parents of a brain-damaged Jewish toddler have lost their appeal at a European court to stop a hospital withdrawing her life-support treatment.

Two-year-old Alta Fixsler’s parents are in a legal dispute with Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) said it would not intervene after a UK court ruled it was in her “best interests” to withdraw treatment.

Alta’s parents said they were “extremely disappointed” by the ruling.



They still hoped an agreement could be reached, their lawyer said.

As Hasidic Jews her parents had argued the hospital’s plans were against their Jewish faith and their rights as parents.

But the ECHR rejected the appeal and agreed with the UK court’s decision to place Alta on palliative care.

Her parents want to take her to an Israeli hospital or the United States, where she has been granted a visa because of her father’s US citizenship.

‘Further pain’
Medics believe Alta, who cannot breathe or eat without medical help, has no chance of recovery.

At the High Court in May, Mr Justice MacDonald said taking her abroad would expose her to “further pain”.

The family’s lawyer David Foster told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “They are extremely disappointed.

“It is a position no parent would like to find themselves in.”

Alta’s parents had hoped the ECHR would agree that the original ruling “did not give adequate cognizance to their religious beliefs”, he said.

Mr Foster said it was a worrying precedent that foreign nationals who were offered care overseas were not allowed to pursue these options.

“We are considering our next steps. The legal route has ended but it is still the case that an agreement could be reached,” he said.

“We also believe that excessive weighting has been given to ‘causing pain’ as a factor in the decision.”

A spokesman for Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust said: “We recognise that this is an incredibly difficult and distressing time for Alta’s family, and we will continue to support them.

“Due to patient confidentiality, it would be inappropriate to comment further.”


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