Sunday 18 March 2018

Tragic teen's body cryogenically frozen after court granted her dying wish

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Gordon Raynor in London

A 14-year-old girl who died of cancer has been cryogenically frozen in the hope that she can be "woken up" and cured in the future after winning a landmark court case in her final days.

The girl's divorced parents had disagreed over whether her wish to be frozen should be followed, so the girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, asked a High Court judge to intervene.

In a letter to the court, she said: "I don't want to die but I know I am going to... I want to live longer... I want to have this chance."

The girl, known as JS, asked Mr Justice Peter Jackson to rule that her mother, who supported her desire to be cryogenically preserved, should be the only person allowed to make decisions about the disposal of her body. Shortly before her death in a London hospital on October 17, in what is believed to be a unique case, the judge granted JS her wish.

Her body was frozen and taken to a storage facility in the US. She is one of only 10 Britons to have been frozen, and the only British child.

She told a relation: "I'm dying, but I'm going to come back again in 200 years."

But after a decision that raises profound moral and ethical questions, the judge and the girl's doctors expressed serious misgivings about the process, which did not go entirely to plan.

Her mother spent the last hours of her daughter's life fretting about details of the freezing process, which was "disorganised" and caused "real concern" to hospital staff.

Mr Justice Jackson suggested that "proper regulation" of cryonic preservation should now be considered.

The case can only now be reported because the judge ruled that nothing could be published until one month after JS's death. He also ruled that her parents' names and other specific details should stay secret.

JS, who lived with her mother in London, was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer last year and by August this year she had been told it was terminal. She began researching cryonics online - a controversial and costly process that involves the freezing of a dead body in the hope that resuscitation and a cure may one day be possible - and decided she wanted to be frozen after her death.

Legally, she had to have the permission of both of her parents, but her estranged father had disagreed, sparking the court battle. (© Daily Telegraph London)

Irish Independent

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