Terminally ill girl wins the right to be frozen.
A terminally ill teenager who wanted her body to be cryogenically frozen in the hope she could "live longer" won a landmark legal battle shortly before she died. The 14-year-old's divorced parents had become involved in a long running dispute about whether her remains should be taken to a specialist facility in the US and cryogenically preserved.
The girl, who lived in the London area with her mother and had a rare form of cancer, had asked a High Court judge to rule that her mother, who supported her wish to be cryogenically preserved, should be the only person allowed to make decisions about the disposal of her body.
Approaching the end of her life, the teenager, who had a rare form of cancer, used the internet to investigate cryonics. Known only as JS, she sent a letter to the court: “I have been asked to explain why I want this unusual thing done. I’m only 14 years old and I don’t want to die, but I know I am going to. I think being cryo‐preserved gives me a chance to be cured and woken up, even in hundreds of years’ time.”
Following the ruling, in a case described by the judge as exceptional, the body of JS has now been preserved and transported from where she lived in London to the US, where it has been frozen “in perpetuity” by a commercial company at a cost of £37,000. The girl’s parents are divorced. She had lived with her mother for most of her life and had had no face-to-face contact with her father since 2008. She rejected his attempts to contact her when he learnt of her illness in 2015.
The judge, Mr Justice Peter Jackson, ruled that no details about the case should be reported whilst she was alive because media coverage could distress her. She was too ill to attend the court hearing but the judge visited her in hospital.
The judge said the girl’s family was not well off but that her mother’s parents had raised the money. A voluntary UK group of cryonics enthusiasts, who were not medically trained, had offered to help make arrangements.