Home News Terminally ill British teenager wins right to die

Terminally ill British teenager wins right to die

Published on 12/11/2008

12 November 2008

LONDON – A terminally-ill teenager in Britain won the right to die after she was taken to court by her local hospital in an attempt to force her to have a heart transplant against her wishes, reports said Tuesday.

Hannah Jones, 13, wanted to die with dignity but child protection officers threatened to remove her from her parents’ custody to force her to undergo surgery.

The Health Care Trust in Herefordshire, western Britain, now dropped a case before the High Court in London after a child protection officer said Hannah was determined that she did not want surgery.

"Hannah managed to convince this officer that this was a decision she had made on her own and she had thought about it over a long period of time, and eventually the court proceedings were dropped," BBC reporter Jane Deith said.

Hannah was diagnosed with a rare form of leukaemia at the age of five, and the subsequent high-strength drug treatment caused a hole in her heart.

She stopped the cancer treatment because of the damage it was doing to her heart, but it was left dangerously weak.

Hannah was offered a transplant, but after consulting with experts she eventually decided against it because of the high risk she would not survive the procedure.

If she did survive, there was a risk of the leukaemia returning due to her weakened immune system.

Hannah will now spend her remaining days with her parents and siblings Oliver, 11, Lucy, 10, and four year-old Phoebe, reports said.

"It was hurtful to be accused of preventing her from doing anything, when everything we do is geared towards her happiness," said her father, Andrew, 43.

"After eight years of being in and out of hospital, and with the prospect of further surgery and constant medication even if the transplant was successful, she decided she wanted to die with dignity and spend her remaining days at home," he said.

[Dpa / Expatica]