An Orthodox Jewish family whose teenage daughter has been diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor is fighting to keep her on life support because their faith prohibits taking her off it.
The family of 19-year-old Danielle Zfat, from Hollywood, Florida, have filed an emergency motion in court claiming doctors indicated they would remove life support.
Yet the Zfats are Orthodox Jews and their beliefs dictate the machines should not be switched off, as everything must be done to preserve a human life.
They also claim the teenager previously blinked to indicate she wanted to be kept alive.
‘Our way to believe as a Jew, is that everything goes through the heart,’ Danielle’s mother, Aviva Zfat, told WSVN. ‘As long as the heart beats, the soul is in the heart, and therefore she is alive.’
The teenager was preparing to move to New York for college 14 months ago when she woke up with numbness down one side of her body.
To the devastation of her close-knit family, she was diagnosed with an aggressive tumour.
As her condition deteriorated, she was admitted to hospital on November 25. Then on January 1, her condition quickly worsened and she was placed on life support.
Her family is now battling to keep her hooked up to the machines and has even taken Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital to court after claiming staff wanted to remove the support.
The family’s attorney filed an emergency motion in court claiming that from January 3, doctors ‘have indicated that they will be removing all medical systems which support her life’.
One of the family’s attorneys, Manachem Mayberg said: ‘The doctor’s of the hospital specifically asked her whether she wanted to fight and continue her life to live. She blinked once for yes.’
‘We just want her to live,’ Aviva Zfat said. ‘When God decides to take her, then he will take her.
‘She’s breathing, she’s alive. She’s up there alive, breathing. Take care of my daughter please. Give her life. Don’t cut her off.’
But in a statement, the hospital said they do not intend to remove the girl’s life support.
‘Our hearts and compassion are with the family at this difficult time,’ it read.
‘Due to patient confidentiality, we are unable to discuss the medical aspects of this case, except to say that it was not the hospital’s intention to remove life support.
‘As an institution that values deeper caring, we do our utmost to respect religious and cultural beliefs.’
Over the course of her treatment, Danielle has taken to her social networking profiles to update followers about her chemotherapy treatments. In June, she simply wrote: ‘I miss my hair.’
In an extraordinary show of courage, she has remained upbeat throughout, grinning in photographs and calling for friends to support the fight against cancer.
Her mother added: If I can take her place. I’ll do it. I’ll switch places. I’m older. I’ve done enough for me. She can have my time.’
Source: The Daily Mail