A Brave Teenager’s Fight for Life
A 19-year-old female has been effectively sentenced to her death after a judge decided that the experts know best, rejecting the young woman’s pleas to live.
The Christian teenager — whom the world is only allowed to know as “ST,” per the courts — suffers from a rare genetic mitochondrial disease, which causes chronic muscle weakness, loss of hearing, and damage to the kidneys; she’s currently dependent on regular dialysis, a feeding tube, and other intensive care. Notably, though, ST’s mental capacity is not affected by the disease.
The teenager wants to fight until her last day, and has repeatedly told medical professionals that she wants to seek experimental treatment outside of the U.K. The U.K.’s National Health Service (NHS), though, wants to remove the teen from life-saving medical treatment, which would condemn her to death, potentially in a matter of days.
In fact, the NHS Trust, apparently perturbed that this youth wouldn’t take their advice and just die already, went to court in April to argue that the teen is not capable of making her own medical decisions. The Trust, comprised of NHS bureaucrats, successfully argued before a judge that the teen was delusional for not agreeing with her doctors that she has no hope and needs to just agree to die.
Here’s what the judge, Mrs. Justice Roberts, wrote in her judgment, which was issued in late August:
“In my judgment […] 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 judge went on to say that ST isn’t merely making an “unwise” decision, which she would supposedly permit. But the teen is instead making an unacceptable choice, in the judge’s view, since in ST’s thought process, she is not affirming that her doctors are correct.
In other words, ST has committed a thought crime by not trusting the experts. And, thus, she is “delusional” and barred from making her own medical decisions.
Keep in mind, two psychologists — two experts, if you will — have determined that ST is in control of her mental faculties and can make these vital decisions for herself.
“Despite all the difficulties which currently confront her, ST is able to communicate reasonably well with her doctors with assistance from her mother and, on occasion, speech therapists,” the judge acknowledged. “I heard evidence from two consultant psychiatrists whose conclusions in relation to her capacity in both domains are set out in full written reports. … the two most recent capacity reports from Dr C and Dr D (both consultant psychiatrists who assessed ST in the days leading up to the hearing) suggested that she had capacity to make these choices for herself. The Trust, relying on the evidence of her treating clinicians, takes a different view.”
Those two experts’ opinions, apparently, don’t hold as much weight as the NHS Trust.
According to Catholic news outlet The Tablet, her parents also disagree with the judge, “We are very distressed by this injustice, and we hope that, by Jesus’s grace, this will be corrected on appeal.”
Now, the Court of Protection gets to decide what to do with ST’s care, and it’s not looking good.
Notably, ST’s diagnosis is the same diagnosis as a London infant named Charlie Gard. In Guard’s tragic case, courts ordered the baby’s parents, Connie Yates and Chris Gard, to bypass possibly life-saving experimental treatment for their infant son; they were forced to watch baby Charlie die in a London hospital.
Charlie, just a baby, couldn’t speak for himself. But in ST’s case, she can — and she continues to do so.
“By the time you read this, I could be dead. That’s according to my doctors who, for the last year, have repeatedly told me that I have had only days to live. But I am a fighter and will continue to fight,” the defiant teen told The Daily Mail this week.
ST noted that she is unable to publicly speak about her case, as per the court order supposedly meant to protect her. This means it’s been impossible for ST to fundraise for the potential or receive experimental treatment, which has been offered to her in both Canada and the U.S. And at the very least, it keeps her family financially strapped as they continue to try to appeal and fight for their daughter’s life.
‘They’ve done everything they can to stop me telling this story,” ST said. “I have found myself trapped in a medical and legal system governed by a toxic paternalism which has condemned me for wanting to live.”
Still, the resilient teen, buoyed by her tight family and her Christian faith, is determined to fight until the end.
“I am in a race against time to escape from this system and the certain death it wishes to impose on me,” she said. “But I am a fighter and will continue to fight. I trust in God and will not give up hope.”
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