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Mother Makes Legal History Winning Right To End Disabled Daughter’s Life

October 27, 2014

A mother has made legal history after she won a High Court case to end the life of her severely disabled 12-year-old daughter.

Nancy Fitzmaurice was born blind and suffering from hydrocphalus, meningitis and septicaemia, which left her unable to talk, walk, eat or drink.

Her quality of life was so poor she depended on round the clock hospital care and was fed, watered and medicated through a tube at London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital.

But when a routine operation left her screaming in agony her devoted mother, Charlotte Fitzmaurice, who had given up work to look after her daughter, made the heartbreaking decision to end Nancy’s life.

In a landmark case, Great Ormond Street fought on behalf of Charlotte, and dad David Wise, to give her the right to die.

In a statement given to a judge explaining why her daughter should no longer suffer Charlotte said her daughter longed for peace.

After reading the heartbreaking words Justice Eleanor King at the High Court of Justice granted the request and Nancy died in hospital.

The ruling sets a precedent as it is the first time a child breathing on their own, not on life support and not suffering from a terminal illness, has been allowed to die.

In her summing up the judge said Charlotte’s love for her daughter is apparent and she had “great admiration” for her devotion to Nancy.

“The last day was the hardest of my life. It was absolutely horrifying. I miss my beautiful girl every day and although I know it was the right thing to do, I will never forgive myself. It shouldn’t have to be a mother’s decision to end their child’s life, doctors should be able to take that away from you.”

– Charlotte Fitzmaurice
2 Comments leave one →
  1. anna permalink
    November 14, 2014 7:18 am

    I read this today and i have to say, what is the world coming to? to let a child die suffering through dehydration and starvation is absolutely disgusting. the suffering of her conditions must have been too much for her to cope with let alone being left to suffer such a horrible death on top of that aswell. I would’nt do that to a sick dog. it isnt euthanasia, its murder plain and simple and the parents and judge who allowed this to happen should be shown the same fate as that poor little girl was. I have children myself and i cant even imagine making a decision to kill my child via starvation and dehydration. its immoral and had any other person done that would have been sentenced to a term of imprisonment and banned from ever having children under their care again, quite rightly so too. It absolutely breaks my heart thinking about it. absolutely disgusted with the brittish legal system and the parents who thought this to be a good idea. Everybody has a right to live regardless of disability or being able bodied. simple as that.

  2. February 2, 2016 11:45 pm

    I agree with Anna. The language of this article is so clearly focussed on the tragedy model of disability as was the judge that it is impossible that any but disabled people will see this for what it is. Do you really think that somehow we reached a situation where Atos/Maximus and the DWP were callously allowed to treat disabled people as they now do without the idea that our lives are worthless and a burden to us?

    This article is counter to any fight we might attempt in order to get our rights because able bodied people will be delighted to give us the right to die. The text is clearly lifted straight from the pages of some newspaper or other that has already fallen for the idea that disabled lives are lives not worth living. I wonder how people can say that a child who was born with various complications and left damaged by them ‘just wants to rest’. More likely it is the mother who has tired of the caring responsibilities that we all take on when we become a parent. To have a disabled child is a risk most disabled people would gladly take and a role they would gladly exchange with this woman.

    Instead of which our lives are cut short when a doctor says so, our children can be taken merely because the state assumes that the child of a disabled parent is at risk of harm and we can be forced to have abortions or sterilisations. WE are a risk to others? Good grief! Look at this article and ask yourselves who is the risk? The disabled person whose own mother wants the doctors to make tough decisions for them or the person who believes that doctors should make end of life decisions for parents and their families.

    Even in Nazi Germany the families of those placed on the Aktion T4 disabled euthanasia programme were appalled. This woman is a monster who was not fit to be a mother in the first place and no society that sees her as anything but dangerous is fit to make decisions affecting the lives of disabled people.

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