European Court of Human Rights says Alta Fixsler can be taken off life support

Court has rejected an appeal by the family


A seriously-ill toddler in Manchester may be taken off life support after the European Court of Human Rights rejected an appeal by her family on Monday.

The family of Alta Fixsler have been locked in a dispute with Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust.

Doctors say the two year-old born with brain damage is suffering constant pain and has no chance of recovery, but her family have argued that withdrawing treatment would go against their faith. 

The family’s lawyer, David Foster, described the latest court decision as “devastating for Alta’s parents who only want to see every option explored to try and save their daughter’s life.”

It follows a Supreme Court refusal last week to overturn an earlier ruling allowing her transfer into palliative care.

Speaking on behalf of the family, Mr Foster said on Wednesday that the toddler’s religious beliefs had “not been adequately taken into account.”

“In Jewish culture, one becomes a member of the faith at conception and Alta’s religion forbids the withdrawal of life-saving care. 

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

“We argue that Alta would feel no more or less pain being transported to a hospital in Israel than she would lying in a bed in Manchester but her chance of further treatment has been denied her regardless,” he said. 

Mr Foster also told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that the family was considering next steps. 

“The legal route has ended but it is still the case that an agreement could be reached," he told the broadcaster.

The case has drawn wide media coverage and interventions from prominent public figures such as former Israeli President Reuven Rivlin.
The US has approved a visa for the toddler - whose father is a US citizen - so she could receive care in the country.

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