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Two-year-old Alta Fixslerscreenshot / 'PA'

WESTMINSTER, England, June 23, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — A hearing in the U.K. Court of Appeal on a recent High Court decision to allow the removal of life support from a 2-year-old brain-damaged girl concluded today. No judgment has been made yet, however.

Two-year-old Alta Fixsler, who suffered brain damage at birth, is currently receiving care in a pediatric intensive care unit in a hospital under the operation of the Manchester University National Health Service (NHS) Foundation Trust. The hospital fought in May at the High Court to have Fixsler’s life support removed after her parents objected to the recommendation.

Fixsler’s parents subsequently petitioned to have their daughter discharged and taken overseas for continued care. The hospital, however, claimed that she will never recover from her current condition, arguing that disconnecting the girl’s ventilation is in her best interest. Removing ventilation will, in all likelihood, lead to Fixsler’s death.

Fixsler’s parents contested the hospital’s decision to remove care to the Court, arguing that to do so would be an affront to her Orthodox Jewish faith and offering alternative care for their daughter in an Israeli hospital.

The judge, Mr. Justice Alistair MacDonald, declared that “no medical benefit” could be found in Fixsler being taken to Israel, adding that further care provides “no prospect” of recovery. Ultimately, MacDonald ruled that it was in the child’s “best interests for the treatment that is currently sustaining her precious life now to be withdrawn” on May 28, insisting that “it is in her best interests for a palliative care regime to be implemented.”

MacDonald urged that the parents “cannot be criticised for having reached a different decision informed by the religious laws that govern their way of life,” but insisted that Fixsler herself has not adopted the Jewish belief system, being a two-year-old girl, and therefore cannot be presumed to share her parents’ beliefs and values, including about life and death.

Applying to overturn MacDonald’s ruling at the U.K. Court of Appeal, Fixsler’s lawyer argued against MacDonald’s assumption that Fixsler cannot be presumed to hold Jewish principles, since her whole background is steeped in the Jewish tradition.

“If there had been lots of evidence of Alta rejecting the mores of that community, then that would be one thing,” Fixsler’s lawyer stated. “But where there isn’t, and we are talking about a baby born into a community, every member of which is part of that tradition, belief system, and mode of living … then it is not for Mr. Justice MacDonald to sit speculating that [Alta’s Jewish belief system] is some improper assumption. It is in fact the only proper assumption.”

The Court heard arguments from both the hospital’s counsel and the Fixsler’s for around an hour and a half before closing. The presiding judge, Lord Justice Baker, announced that no decision would be handed down today as the panel wants “to think carefully about the matters … and reread the papers. That means judgement will be handed down at a later date.”


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