Brain-damaged girl, 2, dies weeks after failed bid to take her to Israel from UK

Life support withdrawn from Alta Fixsler as judge ruled it was in her ‘best interests’

An Israeli girl at the centre of a court battle between her parents and the NHS over her care has died in a UK hospice after life support was withdrawn.

Alta Fixsler passed away on Monday evening, just weeks after her parents lost a legal fight to bring her out of hospital to their home in Salford, Greater Manchester.

Barristers for Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust had argued that life-sustaining care should be withdrawn in a hospital or hospice, not at the family residence.

Earlier this year, the UK High Court ruled that it was in Alta’s “best interests” to end life support since she had “no prospect of recovery.”

The child's parents Abraham and Chaya Fixsler, who are Hasidic Jews, were at her bedside when she died. The couple and their daughter are citizens of Israel.

They were accompanied by a minyan, or quorum of Jewish men, saying prayers, according to the ultra-Orthodox Hamodia newspaper.

The paper said Alta survived for 90 minutes after life-sustaining treatment was withdrawn.

“Sad news, little Alta Fixsler’s life support was turned off this afternoon and she died at the hospice with her parents by her side,” a representative for her parents said.

The family is reportedly planning to hold a funeral ceremony in Manchester before taking their child’s remains to Israel for burial.

The little girl had been treated in palliative care in Manchester throughout her short life after suffering a brain injury at birth.

She was not able to breathe or eat without medical help.

The Fixslers had also wanted their daughter to be transferred to a hospital in Israel but were prevented by a court order from taking her.

The couple had argued it was their right as parents and as members of the Hasidic community to have the final say over their child’s health care.

In June, after Britain’s High Court rejected the Fixslers' bid to keep their daughter on life support and transfer her to Israel, the country’s then president Reuven Rivlin intervened.

epa06313324 Israeli President Reuven Rivlin opens the Spain-Israel Business Meeting at Confederation of Spanish Industry's headquarters in Madrid, Spain, 07 November 2017, during the last day of his visit in Spain.  EPA/Javier Lizon

He issued a direct plea to Prince Charles to step in, calling the case “a matter of grave and urgent humanitarian importance.”

He argued it was the “fervent wish” of Alta’s parents, whom he described as “devoutly religious Jews and Israeli citizens”, to bring their daughter to Israel.

“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,” he said.

Updated: October 19th 2021, 10:55 AM
EDITOR'S PICKS
NEWSLETTERS