Parents are fighting to keep their two-year-old daughter alive after a United Kingdom judge ruled in May against the family, stating it’s in the girl’s “best interests” to allow the hospital to remove her life support.
The parents of Alta Fixsler, 2, contend that their Jewish faith bars them from allowing the hospital to remove their baby from life support and that they are trying to have Alta relocated to a hospital in Israel or the U.S. at no charge to the government-run National Health Service (NHS).
“There is no reason to kill my daughter like this,” the baby’s American father Abraham Fixsler told the New York Post.
The Jerusalem Post reported on the case, Sunday:
Alta Fixsler is a two-year-old girl who was born prematurely and sustained a severe brain injury. She and her parents are Israeli citizens and hassidic Jews. The hospital decided that Alta was “experiencing pain” and has no quality of life and therefore petitioned the British High Court for permission to remove her life support. Numerous pediatric neurologists contest the hospital’s position and insist that Alta does not feel pain. Still, the court gave the hospital the unilateral decision-making power over the girl’s life.
Motivated by the Jewish outlook on the unconditional worthiness of every human life, Alta’s parents have made every effort to save her life and vigorously oppose the hospital’s intentions. Removing life support is prohibited by Alta’s Jewish religion, and is against Israeli Law.
Hospitals in Israel and the U.S. have offered to take Alta into their care, the report noted. United Hatzalah Air, too, has offered to fly the baby to any destination needed without charge.
“The life-saving effort would not cost the UK National Health Service a penny, yet in scenario that can only be described as Kafkaesque, the doctors in the UK are not willing to release the child to the parents’ family, determined to kill the child instead,” The Jerusalem Post argued. “The entreaties of dozens of politicians, hundreds of clergymen, and numerous human rights activists from around the globe have fallen on deaf ears.”
“There are a lot of places around the world where I can take care of my daughter and they would be happy to take care of her long term,” 28-year-old Fixsler said. “Let me go. That’s all I am saying.”
“The doctors don’t think she has quality of life. But I think she has quality of life,” the father argued. “This is something very, very painful.”
Family spokesman Yossi Gestetner told the New York Post, “Our value of life is built into our religious upbringing. Orthodox Judaism encourages the continuation of life until all means are exhausted.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, (D-NY) is reportedly pushing to get the family to the U.S. for care. “My heart breaks for the Fixsler family,” he said to the New York Post, adding that Alta’s “father is an American citizen and we are going to keep fighting until she is allowed to come. Her life is at stake and she is a beautiful 2-year-old little girl.”
According to the New York Post, the Fixsler family “is currently awaiting a hearing to determine if England’s highest court will hear their case. No date for the hearing has been set.”