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The daughter of a woman who is not terminally ill but suffered severe brain damage and cannot communicate with the outside world said on Thursday she would appeal to the Supreme Court against a lower court decision rejecting the family's appeal to let the woman die.
"Perhaps the Supreme Court will demonstrate more compassion," Ronit Goldwasser told The Jerusalem Post following the decision of Tel Aviv District Court President Uri Goren.
Goren wrote that 60-year-old Tina Levy did not meet the criteria that have become accepted in Israel for allowing sick patients to die. The criteria require that the patient be in the final stages of life or terminally ill, that his induced death be the direct outcome of the illness itself, and that the death-causing act not inflict severe suffering on the patient.
Levy is not a terminally ill patient. She is able to breathe by herself. However, she cannot swallow and has to be fed intravenously. She also makes eye contact with her surroundings and may even respond to very simple stimuli. However, she cannot move and appears to suffer from extreme anxiety, which is treated with heavy sedatives. Doctors say she could go on living this way for an inestimable period.
In his ruling, Goren wrote, "Despite the desire to limit the suffering of the patient and to honor her desires as we understand them, at the end of the day [my] conclusion is that we cannot extend the remedy that is requested when her condition does not meet the central criterion that has been formulated in judicial decisions (and adopted in the bill on this matter,) and that is that the patient be 'heading towards death.'" The fact that Levy would die of starvation rather than from her a cause directly connected to her illness and that she would suffer over a period of many days before dying, also had to be taken into consideration," wrote Goren.
Goldwasser said "it is inconceivable that the court cannot find a way to put an end to my mother's suffering. It must find the right terminology that will address her condition as an individual human being."