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Girl wins right to die after refusing heart transplant

11 November 2008

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A dying teenage girl has won the right to refuse a heart transplant that was being forced on her by health chiefs.

They had planned to take 13-year-old leukaemia-sufferer Hannah Jones to court after a locum GP reportedly raised concerns with her local health trust.

But health chiefs at Hereford Hospital have now abandoned the High Court proceedings after speaking to Hannah and her family at their home in Marden, near Hereford.
The teenager has a hole in her heart – meaning it can only pump a fraction of its normal capacity – which developed in reaction to anti-leukaemia drugs she has been taking since she was five.

She has been warned that she has only six months to live and that the only long-term solution is a heart transplant – which itself could kill her.

Her father Andrew, 43, told how he received a phone call one Friday night warning him that his daughter would be removed from the family unless they agreed to her having the transplant.

In a letter to the Jones family, Herefordshire Primary Care Trust chief executive Chris Bull said the trust had concluded that it was “not appropriate” to seek a court order requiring Hannah to be admitted to hospital.

He added that Hannah appeared to “understand the serious nature of her condition” and that she “demonstrated awareness that she could die”.

Copyright © Press Association 2008

Hereford Hospital Trust