U.K. Mother Who Won Case to Kill Disabled Daughter Raising International Concerns

Nancy-FitzmauriceThe case of a mother who petitioned a United Kingdom judge to allow her to kill her 12-year-old daughter by depriving her of hydration and nutrition is raising international concerns from disability advocates and others around the world.

Nancy Fitzmaurice, who was killed in August, was born blind with hydrocephalus, meningitis and septicaemia. Nancy was twelve years old at the time and required 24-hour care. She was fed, hydrated and medicated by tube at London’s Great Ormand Street Hospital, and was given morphine and ketamine to alleviate her pain until her death.

Her mother, Charlotte Fitzmaurice Wise, petitioned a U.K. judge to deprive her daughter from hydration and nutrition, leading to a slow death.

“She has endured enough,” said Wise, “For me to say that breaks my heart.”

Although Nancy died in August, news of her case only became known after her parents came forward with the details recently, hoping that similar decisions could be made by parents and doctors without requiring legal intervention.

During the case, Justice Eleanor King, a high court judge in the United Kingdom, reportedly lauded Wise’s decision for her “love and devotion” towards Nancy, ruling that Nancy had no quality of life given her circumstances, and that she should be killed by depriving her of food and water until her death. Following the court order, Wise claimed that her intention was to end her daughter’s suffering and to grant her death with dignity.

However, disability advocates around the world were outraged by this incident. The Autism Self Advocacy Network recently released a statement that this decision sets a “troubling” and “concerning” legal precedent that will allow parents to end the lives of their disabled children.

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“The decision constitutes an extremely troubling legal precedent, representing the first time the British legal system has allowed a child breathing on her own, not on life support and not diagnosed with any terminal illness, to be killed by the medical system,” the statement read in part.

“Euthanasia of people with disabilities is an extremely dangerous and wholly inappropriate solution to inadequate pain management. In cases where painkillers are insufficient, a number of alternatives for pain management exist. A policy of euthanasia targets vulnerable people, particularly when it is applied to children. People with disabilities who experience chronic pain should have same access as others to life-sustaining medical treatment,” it continued.

The Autism Self Advocacy Network continued by stating that during its advocacy work, they have witnessed blatant abuse when parents are freed to kill their disabled children:

“When parents and physicians have the ability to authorize the killing of disabled children, we see serious abuses. Recently, ASAN and twelve other disability rights groups filed an amicus brief in a case challenging the University of Wisconsin Hospital’s practice of counseling parents to withhold care from children with disabilities for treatable but life-threatening medical conditions. In one such instance, a child with developmental disabilities died after a hospital doctor advised his parents that they could withdraw his feeding tube – which provided fluids and nutrition – based on his supposedly low ‘quality of life.’ The medical condition supposedly justifying this measure was treatable pneumonia. The child died the next day, after administration of morphine. Such actions demonstrate the results of a policy that allows families and clinicians to discriminate on the basis of disability in the application of life-sustaining treatment.”

Life News also commented that the case has set an alarming precedent in the worldwide trend of euthanizing persons with disabilities, mental illnesses, terminal illnesses, the elderly but otherwise healthy, and children. Countries like Belgium and Netherlands are now followed by the United Kingdom.

The United States is not so far apart from this trend as terminal brain cancer patient Brittany Maynard killed herself just days ago on November 1st in Oregon. Maynard, who was originally from California and was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer earlier this year, moved to Oregon with her husband where physician assisted suicide is permitted under Oregon’s “Death with Dignity Act”. She killed herself despite the pleas of many.

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  • Phipps Mike

    sticky situation. Both sides have valid points. No human should have to endure morphine 24/7 infinitely, yet there shouldn’t be such an easy choice to end any disabled children’s lives, either.

    • Susan

      Such an easy choice to end a disabled child’s life??? Seems to me this family took 12 years to make such a heart wrenching, compassionate choice. 12 years that neither you nor I had to endure with this child. 12 years of hope, 12 years of shattered dreams, 12 years of struggles, 12 years of painful decisions,12 years of physical pain, 12 years of 24 hour around the clock care that you nor I had to provide or financially allow for. And altho $ is not a for front issue here, maybe you would like to step forward to finance and foot the bill for the rest of the this child’s existence with 24 hour round the clock care. So sad also that so many people stand behind religion and seem to forget the part in the bible that says ” judge not lest ye be judged.” “Pull the plank out of your own eye”. Does this world have no compassion left to give? You say “an easy choice” like it was discussed over coffee and decided, after 12 years I choose compassion for the child and compassion for the family who I’m sure didn’t ask to be put in a situation where such tough decisions had to made.

  • Neiman

    While one cannot place themselves in such a situation, unless they have a very similar child, to me, it is cold blooded murder of an innocent human being. If it is passive euthanasia of a person being kept alive by artificial means and those artificial means are stopped, that is allowing God or for most people nature to take its normal course. To deliberately deprive a human being of hydration is to deliberately, consciously kill that human being. I do understand what Phipps Mike said below and sympathize, although once we cross this border of post birth abortion, it opens a very dangerous floodgate to being able to terminate the life of anyone, even for political or religious causes. A very dangerous path, but after all modern society is a culture of death.

    Interesting an informal poll recently of college students showed that a large number seem to think post birth abortion (murder) is morally acceptable.

    • Demopublicrat

      Methinks there is more to the story such as the cause of all of the conditions the child suffered from.

      • Neiman

        Deliberately murdering a child has no extenuating circumstances.

        • Demopublicrat

          I’ll give you more time to digest my comment.

    • Stephanie McNeal

      I find it funny how you claim that it’s ok to allow God or nature to take its course, when what exactly is the difference here? She couldn’t eat, drink, or anything on her own… isn’t keeping her alive going AGAINST nature? When left alone, she would die anyway.

      • Neiman

        The most important key is motive, what is the intent? When we remove artificial means (machines), even knowing they probably cannot survive on their own, the motive is not to kill – not to deliberately cause death, it is leaving the patient in God’s hands, Whom only may take or give life. When we by intent withhold hydration and nutrition, we are deliberately taking steps to cause death, it then becomes murder. If you cannot see the difference that is your moral and spiritual failure.

  • Darlene Marie Polizzi

    A horrible way to die, depriving a child of hydration!

    • Neiman

      Yes it is!

  • barbbfly

    that girl looks happy -maybe her quality of life wasnt the best but who’s the judge of that -we are not God and all knowing -what the what the???

    • SFBruce

      According to other reports, the photograph of the young girl depicted in this report was taken when the girl was 4. I have no idea what I would do if I were faced with such a horrendous challenge, but from this and other reports, I have no doubt that the mother struggled with this decision, but feels it was the right one for her little girl.

      • soldouts brother

        I note your posting you are pro choice before birth and pro choice of mother after birth. In other words a woman has a right to murder her child at anytime in her life as long as she can find a doctor or hospital to help her (the mother) ease her pain. How about trying to love what you gave birth to instead of just killing the child. What’s next her mother who has grown old and can no longer care for herself?

        • SFBruce

          Please don’t put words in my mouth. Perhaps you’ve actually met this woman and know that she deserves your scathing judgment. I haven’t met her, but if this article and others I’ve read are accurate, this little 12-year-old girl, who reportedly had the mental age of an infant, was in constant pain which couldn’t be relieved even with constant morphine and ketamine. All reports suggest her mother was nothing but loving, someone who truly wanted the best for little girl. I wish we lived in a world where all 12-year-olds were healthy and happy. Sadly, we don’t.

  • Brenda Golden

    The mother should have been forced to endure no food or water for the same amount of time. Just because she was murdered slowly doesn’t mean she wasn’t murdered. Someone should have told the mother that God doesn’t need her help.

    • Susan

      God spoke loud and clear when he called this child home.

  • George Robson

    whats the difference between leaving your child in the same room as it endures pain all its life and torturing someone. This child has been tortured all its life, its not fair on a child to live through something like this

    • Neiman

      Who are you to decide? What was the spiritual life of the parents, did they live for God and seek His mercy in either taking their child home or – healing her; or, was it all pure human emotions without going to God and thus their playing God?

      This was an innocent human being executed without being guilty of a capital crime nor having an advocate to defend her right to life. They played God and they will answer to Him, I hope they will repent before it is too late.

  • Daniella

    This is a terrible situation for any parent to be in, and the little girls parents must have agonised over what was best for their daughter for a long time. Speaking as a parent who’s spent many months with a critically ill child who was on the brink of death several times, you cannot fully understand what it’s like until you yourself are in that situation.
    It is sad when Christians, rather than showing love and care for people going through a heart breaking situation, throw stones of judgement and condemnation.
    NO ONE knows what they would do if they were in the same situation. It’s very easy to judge and criticise from outside. I’m sure that this decision was not an easy one and the parents were making a choice that was best for their daughter.
    How about a little more Christlikeness and a little less of the hatred?

    • Neiman

      Yes, this must have been a terribly agonizing situation for the family – so what? That is life, we are faced with many great troubles in life and we are faced with whether we obey God or submit to our emotions and do what we know in our heart is morally wrong?

      I get weary of you people suggesting that to be good, loving Christians, the latter should shut up when faced with evil, not say anything, but just love people while they murder, which this clearly was, or highjack marriage or molest children or rape or steal or lie or on and on. Yes, there are ways to express our opposition in more loving ways, we all, myself included, need to seek God’s help in that manner; but, no matter what we choose to do or say, any opposition to sin will be interpreted as hate because no one wants their sins exposed and feel bad about their life choices. My goodness, the world murdered the Son of God, beheaded John the Baptist, murdered most of the apostles, a host of Christian martyrs, all because the world not tolerate any opposition to their sins, any call for repentance.

      In this case they deliberately, no mater how they justified the act, murdered their innocent child. So, we Christians should just shut up and bemoan how hard it was for them? They will have to stand before a just God, Who said “Thou shalt not kill (do murder),” but we should not warn them and call them to repentance before it is too late?

      Lastly, to oppose sin that people might see the utter depravity and the eternal dangers of sin is NOT hatred, it is the love of God, exactly what God, Jesus, all the Prophets and the Apostles did, that some might hear, repent and find salvation.

      • Susan

        Do you think that it was not possible at all that this family prayed for guidance and asked God to guide their decisions? Come judgement day, who he will remember? The compassionate family that came to him seeking his guidance and did repent or the people who threw the first stone? In God’s eyes, one sin is no greater than another.

        • Neiman

          Anything is possible, what is not possible is that God said ‘yes, I want you to kill your child.’ My goodness, now I speak for God, I say what He would or would not do? I know from God’s Word and personal experience that God could clearly heal or take that child, I know that if they were living for God, if they were His children, they could have prayed and had the elders pray, ‘Dear Lord please either heal our child or take her home that she not suffer,’ and then surrendering to God, they would place the decision in God’s Hands, rather than play God themselves.

          If a child is killed by their parents, is it throwing the first stone to speak out so that others facing this same crisis will know it to be sin and how God would have us deal with the situation for their own good? I think not.

    • soldouts brother

      How about some Christlikeness from the mother instead of woe is my life because of this child. An Yes I have suffered a loss of a child and cannot wait to see her again in heaven. However I am not sure this mother will see or even want to see her again. We all have burdens to bare that is how we learn to understand what true love is. For some the easy way out is all that matters. Me, Me my life is put upon
      sadly The loss has led me to understand what Christianity is all about.
      I’m glad it came to me before my end. Those of you who are unbelievers should think of this;
      to know Jesus is to have peace
      No Jesus is no peace

      • Daniella

        I’m truly very sorry for your loss, but I don’t see how you have come to the conclusion that this mother has made a decision to “take the easy way out”. I’m pretty sure that having to make a decision about your child’s life, whether they are still in the womb or older is never the easy option.
        If you’ve read/seen the mothers’ interview from British tv you’ll see that her daughter was in unmanagable pain, and in intestinal failiure so was suffering immensely and had a very poor prognosis.
        Every day people are in the final stages of terrible diseases, and many families make the choice that it’s time for their relative to have release from their suffering, often this happens by medical staff withholding nutrition and fluids, so this is not an uncommon situation, unfortunately this case is regarding a child suffering unimaginable pain and disease, and the fact that her mother fought in court for her child’s suffering to end, is the reason for the media attention.
        Also when people are so poorly that their families make these decisions, they are no longer conscious or aware of what is going on around them, so please don’t make accusations of this child’s mother torturing her. Again, read/watch the interview.
        Are people suggesting that every time a decision is made to turn off life support for patients with no hope of recovery, that those individuals’ families are committing murder? Just wondering?

      • Susan

        Are you sure this decision was made without God’s guidance?

    • Susan

      Well said.

  • splicernyc

    They euthanize animals with more humanity than what was done to this child. If you’re going to kill someone, then kill them. Don’t try to make it into something it isn’t for the sake of your own conscience.

  • Tess95

    There seem to be many murderers and suicides now masquerading as campaigners of right to die with dignity. We have completely turned our back against God. This is a serious trend and it will soon get out of hand.

    • John_33

      This is Satan’s modus operandi: take the evil and pretend it’s good. As such, feminists pretend that they are pro-women, evolutionists pretend they are scientific, abortionists pretend that they are for women’s health, recreational drug advocates pretend that their drugs help the body, and euthanasia advocates pretend that they are compassionate. We will see this more and more, and the real compassionate, health-oriented people will be scorned for refusing to follow suit.

  • Andrei

    She would have been healed completely if you gave her the right diet. Pure organic carrot juice, 5 pounds worth of carrots a day, goji, crushed apricot seeds (vitamin b-17), alkaline water with some sodium bicarbonate (to kill any fungus in the body), all for just 90 days. I’m crazy until you get healed. Then I’m black listed for giving out the cure for cancer, diabetes, arthritis, and couple hundred more diseased on the list. You’re welcome. By the way, my testicular cancer, lung cancer, and colon cancer is healing, tumors shrinking as we speak, no chemo, no radiation, no surgery. Too much acid in the body = cancer, and every disease welcome to thrive in. Alkaline body = live to 120 which is the real living standard. You’re welcome again. Have a nice day now.

    • Chrissy Vee

      Thank you Andrei. I am happy you are healing. 🙂
      “Let food be thy medicine & let thy medicine be food” ~ Hippocrates ~ ♥

    • Stephanie McNeal

      You’re welcome? Are you kidding me? She didn’t have cancer, she was severely cognitively impaired. This didn’t come from her diet, she was this way since birth. Brain dysfunction is not a “disease.” What an ignorant and unsympathetic thing to say. While I hope you continue to get better, what’s working for you isn’t going to “heal” a child with severe mental impairment and it’s utterly foolish to claim that it will.

  • Conservative seer

    This is murder, its a despicable sin

  • Melody Rae

    If what they said was true, then it is not killing someone, when you keep a person alive in this condition that is being cruel. Once your body does not work its bad enough, but then you add the brain can not even read a book or watch TV, how many of you would want to be keep alive this way?

  • Chrissy Vee

    Is it not mercy when man and the vaccines they impose on us to “prevent” disease make us crippled, braindead and and unable to function as human beings… is it not mercy? I am a Christian woman, but I really struggle with this one. Please don’t hate me for it.

  • And 100 years ago children born with severe disabilities did not survive. I am sure in many cultures babies with defects were put to death….. Some cultures only allowed male offspring to survive.

  • Karl Goldsmith

    If only she had been in America, then she could have anonymously abandoned her as a baby.

  • Mary Hayden

    So glad my aunt and uncle chose to bring the youngest of my 33 cousins home, instead of institutionalization as the medical personnel suggested. According to the doctors, Donald should have been put away and forgotten. Our family has been blessed by Donald as he is a loving and somewhat capable young man. He now lives with his oldest sister and I guarantee anyone in the family would have taken him gladly as his parents face health concerns and age. He has been a blessing to our family as we have been to him.