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Hassidic toddler Alta Fixsler from UK passes away


Two-year-old Hasidic Jewish girl Alta Fixsler has passed away after a lengthy battle with England’s National Health Service (NHS) and the United Kingdom High Court, British media reported late Monday night.

Fixsler, daughter of Hasidic Jewish parents, was born with severe brain damage. She had been on life support since her birth at a Manchester hospital, but the UK High Court had ruled to discontinue her care against the wishes of her family.

Alta’s parents fought the NHS to allow her to remain connected to the medical equipment keeping her alive, claiming that any cessation of life goes against the Jewish faith, to which they strictly adhere.

The UK’s High Court ruled last May to discontinue care, siding with the NHS. According to the NHS, she is suffering, and prolonging her life is futile, as she has no chance of recovery. UK medical guidelines approve ending care in such situations.

When the supreme court in the UK ruled that Alta’s life support can be withdrawn, the parents appealed to the European Court of Human Rights. Their request was declined last August.

“The presumption in favor of taking all steps to preserve life, whilst strong, is also rebuttable. That this is so recognizes that life cannot be, and should not be, preserved at all costs,” the ruling judge said in his decision.

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Fixsler suffered from permanent brain damage since her birth. She could not breathe, eat or drink without medical intervention. Doctors have said that her condition would never improve.

Life support for severe cases such as Fixsler’s involve monitoring of all the functions her body cannot complete for her – ventilation, nutrition, pH levels, temperature, etc. A day on life support in the intensive care unit costs the health system $3,000 a day or more, according to a study in Critical Care Medicine.

Abraham Fixler asks that his daughter be sent to Israel before she her life support is turned off, in Manchester, Britain. (credit: REUTERS)Abraham Fixler asks that his daughter be sent to Israel before she her life support is turned off, in Manchester, Britain. (credit: REUTERS)

Israel’s then-president Reuven Rivlin had petitioned the UK’s Prince Charles to allow Fixsler to be treated in Israel. US. Senator Chuck Schumer also petitioned against this decision, writing to UK Ambassador Karen Pierce to hold off on suspending care and even securing Fixsler a visa to seek medical care in the United States.

Fixsler’s funeral will take place tonight in Manchester. Her coffin is expected to arrive in Israel tomorrow for burial.

Hadas Labrisch contributed to this report.

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