Alexander Elliott: Teenager at centre of right-to-life case dies

His father has called him the 'very definition of brave'

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The Independent Online

Alexander Elliott, a teenager with a brain tumour at the centre of a right-to-life legal dispute, has died.

His parents and doctors came to loggerheads in February, after a judge allowed specialists at the University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust to withhold the 18-year-old’s treatment.

Following his son's death, Mr Elliott’s father, Brian Elliott, called him the "very definition of brave."

In February, Mrs Justice Hogg at the Court of Protection, which deals with issues relating to sick and vulnerable people, agreed with doctors that Mr Elliott had no more than two weeks left to live, and that “active treatment” was “futile”.

However, his parents Brian and Olya Elliott disagreed, and pleaded with the judge to allow his chemotherapy to continue.

In recent weeks, judges heard that Mr Elliott was alive and had “surpassed all expectations”.

The teenager’s identity and that of the others involved was unreported while he was alive due to an order issued by Mrs Justice Hogg.

His father said following his death: "He went in his own time, with his dignity and autonomy intact, and not at the behest of the hospital trust who, since February, have repeatedly told the court that it was in his best interests for further life-preserving treatment to be stopped, and for him to be left to die.

"Had the trust succeeded in their application in February, we would have been denied his company over these last few months, and he would have been denied the last four precious months of his life."

He added: "Alex faced all of the challenges he encountered throughout his life head-on. He believed in standing up for doing what he thought was right. It is of some small consolation to us that he was allowed to continue to fight this fight to the end."

A spokesman for University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust said: “We are deeply saddened by Alex's death at a tragically young age. This is an extremely difficult and distressing time for his parents and we are doing all we can to support them."

The Trust also defended its argument in February, and said that following discussions with colleagues in Liverpool and Manchester, doctors decided: "Alex had reached a point where all medical and surgical treatment options had been exhausted" and that "further intervention would have been futile and risked causing him great distress."

Last year the trust became embroiled in a separate dispute involving five-year-old Aysha King, after his parents took him from a hospital without doctors' permission.

In September, a High Court judge gave Brett and Naghmeh King permission to take Ashya - who also had a brain tumour - to a clinic in Prague to receive treatment not available in England.