This story was originally published by the WND News Center.
A judge in the United Kingdom has rejected the testimony of expert psychiatrists and ruled that a 19-year-old with a life-threatening disease is unable to make decisions for herself, so doctors should be allowed to withhold treatment and orchestrate her death.
The stunning situation has been profiled by officials at Christian Concern.
A National Health Service hospital wants to remove life-saving medical treatment from 19-year-old "ST," even though she is alert and has been judged to be mentally competent to make her own healthcare decisions, the report said.
Withholding treatment effectively condemns her to death, it explained.
"Unlike in similar cases such as Charlie Gard, Alfie Evans, and Archie Battersbee, the girl – anonymized by the court as ‘ST’ – is conscious, able to speak, and has instructed her own lawyers to argue that she should be kept alive and allowed to go to Canada for experimental treatment which would give her a chance of survival," the report said.
At issue is a rare genetic mitochondrial disease similar to that of Charlie Gard, the baby whose life support was withdrawn as a result of a bitterly fought high-profile legal case in 2017. ST’s condition causes chronic muscle weakness, loss of hearing, and damage to her kidneys. She is dependent on regular dialysis and other intensive care, but the condition does not affect the functioning of her brain, the report explained.
The hospital claims her condition is deteriorating and since she is therefore "actively dying," it wants to withhold dialysis so she would die from kidney failure in a few days.
"Two psychiatric experts instructed by the hospital have examined ST and have told the court that she is not suffering from any mental health illness and has the mental capacity to make decisions about her own medical treatment," Christian Concern confirmed.
She, however, wants to take part in clinical trials of a nucleoside therapy that could offer help.
Justice Roberts, in the United Kingdom's court system, stunningly claimed in a ruling, "ST is unable to make a decision for herself in relation to her future medical treatment, including the proposed move to palliative care, because she does not believe the information she has been given by her doctors." The court further issued a gag order preventing her family or lawyers from disclosing anything, even to raise funds to help pay for her treatment.
Christian Concern said ST comes from a tightly-knit Christian family whose member have depleted their savings to pay for lawyers to fight the medical system's death judgment.
"Despite her illness, she attended a regular school, achieved good GCSE results, and was studying for her A-levels when her health deteriorated after catching COVID in August 2022. She has been in an intensive care unit in a Birmingham hospital ever since," the report said.
The Birmingham hospital eventually went to court claiming she was incompetent and insisting on its "palliative" plan that would "lead to her death within a few days."
In a statement released by their lawyers, the family said, "This has been a year of continuous torture for the family. Not only are we anxious about our beloved daughter’s fight for survival, but we have also been cruelly gagged from being able to speak about her situation. We are not allowed to ask people for prayers or for help which she desperately needs. It is a matter of life and death for our daughter to raise money for treatment in Canada, so these arbitrary reporting restrictions are literally killing her."
Andrea Williams, of the Christian Legal Centre which has been involved in a series of earlier end-of-life cases, said in response to the judgment in the case, "This profoundly disturbing case demonstrates the urgent need for an overhaul into how end-of-life decisions are made in the NHS and the courts.
"This demonstrates the need for a more open and transparent system. Justice is done in the light and not behind closed doors. What can be more natural or rational for a seriously ill 19-year-old than to leave no stone unturned and to take every chance of survival?"