Couple in court fight to take ill daughter to Israel
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Couple in court fight to take ill daughter to Israel

Bosses at a Manchester hospital asked the judge to decide what is in the best interest of two-year old Alta Fixsler, who has brain damage

Alta Fixsler, as a High Court judge has been asked to allow her to move from England to Israel. Mr Justice MacDonald is considering a dispute over two-year-old Alta's future at a private virtual hearing in the Family Division of the High Court.  (Irwin Mitchell/PA Media)
Alta Fixsler, as a High Court judge has been asked to allow her to move from England to Israel. Mr Justice MacDonald is considering a dispute over two-year-old Alta's future at a private virtual hearing in the Family Division of the High Court. (Irwin Mitchell/PA Media)

A Jewish couple who want to move their seriously-ill daughter from England to a hospital in Israel are embroiled in a High Court life-support treatment fight.

Specialists caring for two-year-old Alta Fixsler, who has brain damage, in England think treatment should end.

Bosses at the Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, who have responsibility for Alta’s care, have asked a High Court judge to decide what moves are in the little girl’s best interests.

Alta’s parents say their Jewish faith means they cannot “in the current circumstances” agree to steps being taken which would lead to her death.

They want treatment decisions made in Israel, by doctors who “share their religious beliefs and ethical framework”, and say Israeli hospitals will accept Alta.

The couple say they do not understand why hospital bosses will not agree to a transfer to Israel.

Mr Justice MacDonald, who is based in London, is considering Alta’s case at a private virtual hearing in the Family Division of the High Court.

The hearing began on Wednesday and is due to end later this week.

A barrister representing Alta’s parents has told Mr Justice MacDonald they want to move to Israel with their daughter.

“They would like her to be treated in Israel by doctors who share their religious beliefs and ethical framework, and struggle to understand why the trust will not agree to this,” said Victoria Butler-Cole QC, in a written case outline.

“Hospitals in Israel are willing to accept Alta, the risks of transfer are very low, and the costs of transporting Alta safely will be met.”

She added: “The parents implore the trust to reconsider their position.”

The judge has been told a Jerusalem hospital has confirmed it would accept Alta initially.

A lawyer representing Alta’s parents said, outside court, that the couple thought it best if treatment decisions were made in Israel.

“Alta’s family are devastated at the prospect of her life-sustaining treatment being withdrawn,” said Mathieu Culverhouse, of law firm Irwin Mitchell.

“Furthermore, as part of their Jewish faith, Alta’s parents can’t in the current circumstances agree to steps being taken that would lead to the death of their daughter.

“All they want is for her to be given the best possible chance of life.

“The court now has to consider whether the hospital trust is legally able to change Alta’s treatment to palliative care, while preventing Alta’s parents from relocating with her to Israel where they intend to live permanently.

“The family strongly believe that travelling with them to Israel and for treatment decisions to be taken there is in Alta’s best interests.”

Mr Justice MacDonald has told lawyers he will have to take the ongoing hostilities in Israel and Gaza into account when reaching a decision about what is in Alta’s best interests.

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