Two-year-old Alta Fixler died Monday when her life support was turned off following an intense legal battle between the toddler’s parents and the National Health Service.
Alta passed away despite her parents’ request that she be flown from Manchester to Israel for further treatment, The Jerusalem Post reported. According to the outlet, the little girl was born with “severe brain damage” and had been on life support since birth.
The parents, who are Hasidic Jews, fought fiercely to keep Alta on life support, arguing any cessation of life goes against the tenets of their faith. The courts, though, sided with the government’s socialized health care provider. Against her parents’ wishes, the U.K. High Court decided removing little Alta’s life support was in her “best interests” because she had “no prospect of recovery.”
Furthermore, the court rejected an appeal from the parents to transfer their daughter to Israel for care.
In May, Justice Alistair MacDonald said sending the little girl to Israel would “expose Alta to further pain and discomfort during the course of transfer for no medical benefit in circumstances where all parties accept that the treatment options now available for Alta provide no prospect of recovery,” according to The Times of Israel.
Alta’s death comes months after Israel’s then-President Reuben Rivlin sent a plea directly to Prince Charles, asking him to intervene in the case. He called it “a matter of grave and urgent humanitarian importance.”
“It is the fervent wish of her parents, who are devoutly religious Jews and Israeli citizens, that their daughter be brought to Israel,” wrote Rivlin. “Their religious beliefs directly oppose ceasing medical treatment that could extend her life and have made arrangements for her safe transfer and continued treatment in Israel.”
Even U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) brought the matter up during a conversation with U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson. He told the Orthodox newspaper Hamodia that he opposed the NHS’ decision.
Nevertheless, the socialized health care system stood its ground.
Surrounded by her parents and a group of male religious leaders who prayed for her, Alta passed away Monday. She survived for an hour and a half without life support.
“I extend my prayers and support for the Fixler family during this very difficult time,” said Schumer. “May Alta’s memory be a blessing. I continued to believe the policy followed here was wrong on many levels and regret that our multiple, and legally and morally well-grounded, pleas were unheeded by the British authorities.”
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