Alta Fixsler’s Appeal Request Denied by European Court of Human Rights

alta fixsler
View of the European Court of Human Rights (Adrian Grycuk)

The U.K. Supreme Court and European Court of Human Rights have declined to take up the appeal of  Alta Fixsler, a 2-year-old Jewish girl on life support.

With legal options seemingly exhausted, it appears the family’s only means of saving the girl’s life is through political pressure.

Alta suffered a severe brain injury at birth and is unable to breathe or eat on her own. The Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, which is responsible for her care, says there is no potential for her condition ever to improve, that there is no medical benefit to continuing her life support, that she is suffering pain and it would be humane to remove her from life support.

The family has undertaken an extensive lobbying and outreach effort, with U.S. and Israeli governments interceding with the British government on Alta’s behalf, asking that the girl, whose mother is Israeli and father is Israeli-American, be allowed to leave to one of those countries for medical treatment. Jewish charitable organizations have arranged transport, and there would be no cost to the U.K. government.

But a judge in London ruled on May 28 in favor of the hospital and against her parents. Justice MacDonald said her parents “cannot be criticised for having reached a different decision informed by the religious laws that govern their way of life, but applying the secular legal principles that I must I cannot agree with their assessment.” An appellate court subsequently denied the family’s appeal. The family then appealed to the Supreme Court, which declined to take up the case, and now the European Court of Human Rights has declined to hear the appeal as well.


Rabbi Moshe Dovid Niederman of UJO of Williamsburg, an askan who was been fighting on behalf of the Fixsler family, condemned the courts’ refusal to take up the case, in comments to Hamodia.

“We are talking about a sweet two-year old girl fighting for her life. We are shocked that the courts did not even look at the merits of the case,” said Rabbi Niederman. “We must remember that we are dealing here with the child of a U.S. citizen, to whom the U.S. has granted a visa, so that she should be able to come to the U.S., where she will be kept alive and receive treatment at no cost to the U.K. government.

“It is therefore mind-boggling that the U.K. National Health Service is so stubborn and continues to insist that it will remove the life support from sweet Alta, to the sorrow of her parents, family and worldwide Jewish community, who have become so moved by her plight and care so much about saving her life.”

Readers are asked to daven for the refuah sheleimah of Alta bas Alta Chaya, besoch she’ar cholei Yisrael.

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