Christian teen vows to continue fight for life-preserving treatment

(Photo: Getty/iStock)

A Christian teenager locked in a legal battle with an NHS Trust to receive life-preserving treatment has said she will continue to fight.

The 19-year-old, who can only be named by the initials 'ST' due to reporting restrictions imposed by the court, is fighting against the decision of her doctors to move her to palliative care.

Her doctors have argued that she is "actively dying" and that end of life care would be in her best interests.

ST disagrees and wants permission to go to Canada to take part in a clinical trial offering experimental treatment for her condition - a genetic disorder called mitochondrial depletion syndrome (MDS). 

While the treatment, if successful, would not cure her condition, her family argue that it could extend her life. 

"They've done everything they can to stop me telling this story," ST told the Daily Mail. 

"I have found myself trapped in a medical and legal system governed by a toxic paternalism which has condemned me for wanting to live."

MDS has weakened ST's kidneys and muscles, and she needs regular dialysis. She relies on a ventilator to breathe and is fed through a tube. Despite the severity of her condition, she insists that her brain has not been affected and she hopes to resume her A-level studies soon.

ST comes from a tight-knit Christian family and according to the Daily Mail, she still enjoys doing many of the same things as other teenagers, like scrolling through social media, watching Love Island, and playing board games.

She said, "My doctors are saying because they cannot treat my MDS, I should not be having any more life-preserving treatment.

"Instead I should be filled up with opioids so I will lose consciousness and die.

"I do not want this and want to try the treatment being offered abroad. It might be a small chance, but it is my only chance."

Her family have condemned the court order concealing ST's identity because they say it has prevented them from being able to fundraise for the cost of receiving treatment abroad.

The reporting restrictions were imposed at the request of the hospital. The family have applied to have the restrictions lifted and are appealing to Health Secretary Steve Barclay to save their daughter.

"We urge the Health Secretary to intervene and for the hospital and the courts to lift these restrictions so that we can do everything we can to try and save our daughter," they said. 

The family's stance has the support of Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg who said: "Justice by default should be open.

He added, "The courts should not support closed justice when the person who is supposed to be protected doesn't want this secrecy."

The family are being supported in their case by the Christian Legal Centre.