Terminally ill teen won historic ruling to preserve body

A 14-year-old girl who wanted her body to be preserved in case she could be cured in the future, won an historic legal fight shortly before her death, reports BBC.

The girl, who was terminally ill with a rare cancer, was supported in her wish to be cryogenically preserved by her mother - but not by her father.

A High Court judge ruled that the girl's mother should be allowed to decide what happened to the body.

The girl, who died in October, has been taken to the US and preserved there.

The details of her case have just been released.

The teenager - who cannot be named - and who lived in the London area, used the internet to investigate cryonics during the last months of her life.

Cryonics is the process of preserving a whole body in the hope that resuscitation and a cure are possible in the distant future.

She wrote to the judge explaining that she wanted "to live longer" and did not want "to be buried underground".

She wrote: "I think being cryopreserved gives me a chance to be cured and woken up - even in hundreds of years' time."

The judge, Mr Justice Peter Jackson, visited the girl in hospital and said he was moved by "the valiant way in which she was facing her predicament".

His ruling, he said, was not about the rights or wrongs of cryonics but about a dispute between parents over the disposal of their daughter's body.

Cryonics is a controversial procedure and no-one yet knows if it is possible to revive people afterwards.

There are facilities in the US and Russia where bodies can be preserved in liquid nitrogen at very low temperatures (less than -130C) - but not in the UK.

The cost of preserving a body for an infinite amount of time is estimated to be around £37,000.

The judge said the girl's application was the only one of its kind to have come before a court in England and Wales - and probably anywhere else.

Mr Justice Jackson said the case was an example of science posing new questions to lawyers.

The girl died peacefully in October knowing that her remains would be preserved, but the judge said there had been problems on the day she died.

He said hospital staff and bosses had expressed concerns about the way the process of preparing her body for cryogenic preservation had been handled.

This was carried out by a voluntary group in the UK before her body was flown to the US for storage.

He suggested that ministers should consider "proper regulation" of cryonic preservation for the future.

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