November 11, 2008

Dying Girl Wins Right to Refuse Transplant

British health officials say they won't try to force Hannah Jones to accept a heart transplant, even though it might prolong her life.

Doctors dropped their High Court petition to force her to have surgery after she convinced a child protection officer to let her remain at home rather than take the chance of dying in a hospital, The Times of London reported Tuesday.

Jones, 13, has been hospitalized numerous times since being diagnosed at age 5 with leukemia that now is in remission. Chemotherapy caused a hole in her heart, which has weakened as her body has grown, The Times reported.

While a heart transplant might prolong her life, the drugs used to prevent her body from rejecting a new heart could cause the leukemia to return, The Times reported.

Jones, from Marden, near Hereford, plans to remain at home without further surgery, being cared for by her mother, Kirsty, an intensive care nurse, and her father, Andrew, an auditor, The Times said.