13-year-old British girl wins right to die

November 11th, 2008 - 1:08 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Nov 11 (IANS) A terminally ill British teenager has won a legal battle with her hospital to spend her last days at home with family and friends without any more treatment.Hannah Jones, 13, who is suffering from a rare type of leukaemia, went to court when her local hospital drafted child protection officers to remove her from her parents’ custody to force her to undergo a heart transplant.

The high court decided that she was old enough to make the decision for herself and the hospital dropped the case.

Doctors at the hospital in Hereford, England suggested she undergo a heart transplant, though they were not sure if the borrowed heart would survive for long.

Prolonged treatment since she was five caused a hole in Hannah’s heart. The heart may give up any day as her immune system is quite weak.

Hannah had stopped all treatment to prevent further damage to her heart. And that’s when the drama began.

Her parents, Andrew and Kirsty Jones received a call from the child protection officer of the Herefordshire Primary Care Trust warning they were applying for a high court order to forcibly remove their daughter because they were “preventing her treatment”.

It would remove their decision making rights as parents and give the authorities the power to decide what action to take.

“It was hurtful to be accused of preventing her from doing anything, when everything we do is geared towards her happiness,” Andrew Jones told The Telegraph.

Child protection officers interviewed Hannah at her home and she managed to convince them she did not need a transplant. The hospital’s case ended there and they would not comment on the issue.

Her father said: “It is an incredible thing for a young person like her who has been through such a lot to have the presence of mind and bravery to stand up for her rights. We’re so very proud of our little girl.”

The parents now hope Hannah is with them this Christmas. They are now trying hard to find an insurer so that Hannah can fulfil her dying wish to go to Disneyland in Florida.

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