UK High Court Justice Alistair MacDonald last Friday ruled that life-sustaining treatment can be withdrawn from a gravely ill two-year-old Jewish girl and that this act of mercy killing would be in her “best interests.”
Her parents, Manchester residents who objected to euthanizing their baby girl because their Jewish faith forbids it, asked earlier to take her out of the UK, to an Israeli hospital, where their wishes would be heeded, but the judge told their lawyers that he would have to take “current hostilities in Israel and Gaza” into account when reaching a decision.
In other words, this baby should be allowed to die in England because sending her to Israel would risk her life.
Anyone know a better planet I could move to?
Michal Pruski wrote on May 25 in the Journal of Medical Ethics (Is medico-legal paternalism still rife in UK pediatric best interest decisions?): “I wish to argue that the fact that we require courts to make best interest decisions in cases where there is family agreement and the family is not malevolent towards the child, this situation represents a vestige of medical paternalism that is enforced by the courts.”
That’s polite English for “Take your hands off people’s babies.”
Mathieu Culverhouse, a lawyer representing Alta’s parents, told the BBC after the initial court hearing that “Alta’s family are devastated at the prospect of her life-sustaining treatment being withdrawn. All they want is for her to be given the best possible chance of life.”
Well, too bad. British justice knows better. Justice MacDonald actually said it was in Alta’s “best interests for the treatment that is currently sustaining her precious life now to be withdrawn.”
He also said that taking the baby to Israel would cause her discomfort “for no medical benefit in circumstances where all parties accept that the treatment options now available for Alta provide no prospect of recovery.”
As to the rights of her parents, the judge asserted: “I cannot agree with their assessment and am required to act accordingly.”