In a hospital in London, doctors want to stop life support for a five-year-old. The girl’s mother does not want to accept that – and goes to court.

A court must clarify whether British doctors can let a terminally ill five-year-old girl die. Monday began a hearing in the family court in London. Little Pippa’s mother is defending herself against the hospital’s decision, in which her daughter is being treated for nearly two years, to stop the life-support measures. The flu had seriously damaged the girl’s brain.

Pippa’s mother requested that the girl be brought home and connected to a mobile fan there. “I’m not giving up,” said the 41-year-old. No one knows what medical knowledge there will be in the future that could help Pippa. The father died in 2017.

Fear of the costs of the UK NHS Health Service?

The case is reminiscent of that of little Alfie Evans. The boy, who died in April 2018 at the age of just 23 months, had a serious neurological condition that has not yet been clearly identified. The doctors felt that further life-support measures were meaningless because the disease had almost completely destroyed the child’s brain, and they wanted to spare Alfie further suffering. The parents, on the other hand, wanted their son to live as long as possible.

In Great Britain it is usually the doctors who decide whether the terminally ill should receive further treatment – in Germany, however, it is the parents. Critics suspect that behind the harsh British stance lies fear of an avalanche of costs to the national NHS health system from similar cases.

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