British Teenager Wins Right to Die With Dignity

Hannah Jones has had it with hospitals. Diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia at the age of 4 and later a heart condition, she has been in and out of hospitals nearly her entire life.

So when doctors told the terminally ill 13-year-old that she needed a life-saving heart transplant, she decided she'd had enough.

After already undergoing six operations in the last two years, she preferred to go home rather then risk spending her precious time inside the place she had grown to hate. She told the Daily Mirror that she made up her mind after doctors explained everything.

"I just didn't want to go through any more operations," she told the newspaper.

But the teenager's request to spend her last days at home turned into a legal battle when the hospital threatened her family members with court action if they didn't bring her back to the hospital for treatment.

Andrew, Hannah's father, told the Daily Mirror that he was warned with a phone call that his daughter could be forcibly removed from him.

"They had an ambulance lined up and nurses ready to look after Hannah because they knew she would be distressed. They were ready to take her that night. We were all in shock," he said.

Hannah's hospital in Hereford, England, dropped the case after she appealed to health officials that she was fully aware she could die and wished to be cared for at home.

The schoolgirl explained that she didn't feel the high-risk operation would be in her best interests after talking it through with doctors from Birmingham Children's Hospital and Great Ormond Street in London. She knew it would only provide temporary respite, if it even worked, and would be followed up by constant medication.

Her parents, accused of preventing her treatment, didn't feel they could influence her and were forced to support her decision.

Her mother, Kirsty, a former nurse, told the Daily Mirror, "Yes, I want her to live and yes I want a cure, but this is not a cure. Hannah has been through a lot of trauma and I'm quite happy with the decision she made. I think, for her, it was right."

Trip to Disneyland Canceled

Andrew told the BBC, "The threat that somebody could come and forcibly remove your daughter from you ... was quite upsetting really."

He recently was forced to cancel a family trip to Disneyland in Florida because he couldn't get Hannah insurance coverage. The holiday had been donated to them by U.S. charity Cauldwell Children.

It's thought that Hannah's heart was weakened by the drugs she was forced to take as a child for her leukemia. Her heart can now only pump 10 percent of its capacity.

Doctors have given the teenager six months to live and she will get to spend the rest of her short life at home in Marden near Hereford, enjoying it with her parents, brother and two sisters.

The Primary Care Trust for Herefordshire told ABC News that it will continue to work in Hannah's best interests.

"When considering whether a child is able to make a decision we would consider the age and the maturity of the child as well as the views of the family and others as appropriate. A child has the right to change their mind and all professionals providing support to the child and the family have to be sensitive to that," the agency said.

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