Issues in Law and Medicine 37 (1):81-93 (2022)

Michal Pruski
University of Manchester
The case of Alta Fixsler, where a judge ruled that withdrawing life sustaining care was in her best interest rather than transferring her to Israel, as her parents wanted, is the latest in a series of controversial paediatric best interest decisions. Using this case, as well as some other recent cases, I argue that the UK exhibits a high degree of medico-legal paternalism in best interest decisions, even though paternalism seems to be ubiquitously negatively perceived in medical ethics. Firstly, I explain what I mean by medico-legal paternalism and defend my claim that this phenomenon is present in the UK. I then argue that at least philosophically (rather than legally) such a situation is impossible to justify in a secular state and that how we treat paediatric best interest decisions is very different from other areas of medical law. Lastly, I discuss proposals that aim to rectify this situation.
Keywords Best Interest  Paediatric  Pediatric
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