“The events of the last few months must have been harrowing."
University Hospitals Birmingham has been named as the NHS Trust involved in a legal battle over a teenager’s treatment before her death.
Sudiksha Thirumalesh had a rare mitochondrial disorder and died from a cardiac arrest on September 12, 2023, amid her family’s reported row with the trust over whether she should be moved onto palliative care.
The Court of Protection heard that Sudiksha wanted to travel to North America for a potential clinical trial, described as “experimental”.
But the London court previously heard there was a “fundamental disagreement” between the family and the trust over the teenager’s care.
Lawyers for the trust said Sudiksha, who was known as ST during the legal battle, was “actively dying” and was suffering severe respiratory episodes.
After her death, Sudiksha’s family and their lawyers returned to the Court of Protection and successfully argued she and her family could be named publicly in relation to the case.
Her brother Varshan Chellamal Thirumalesh said:
“After a year of struggle and heartache, we can finally say our beautiful daughter and sister’s name in public without fear: she is Sudiksha. She is Sudiksha Thirumalesh.
“Despite our grief and the continuing shock over everything we have been through, today a part of us is at peace. Sudiksha was a wonderful daughter and sister who we will cherish forever.
“We cannot imagine life without her.”
The court previously heard the family are planning to bring an appeal bid over a previous ruling which said Sudiksha had a “profound inability to contemplate the reality of her prognosis”.
On September 29, 2023, Mr Justice Peel said University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust could now be named as the trust which looked after Sudiksha.
But the identities of the doctors who treated Sudiksha could not be published until late November.
Mr Justice Peel said: “At this point in time, so close to the tragic death of ST, the likelihood is that interest in the circumstances leading to her death will be at its highest, and the risk of improper conduct is similarly at its highest.”
His decision comes after he ruled that Sudiksha and her family could be identified.
The judge expressed his condolences to Sudiksha’s family, concluding:
“As they sat courteously in court, the distress of ST’s mother in particular was palpable.
“The events of the last few months must have been harrowing.
“I sincerely hope that they will find the strength to move forward, comforted by their many happy memories of their much-loved daughter.”
Following the judgment, Sudiksha’s father Thirumalesh Chellamal Hemachandran said the family was disappointed by the decision.
He said: “We have been unfairly gagged by these reporting restrictions for over six months.
“If not for those restrictions, our daughter might well still be alive.”
“We are very disappointed that, even now, the court has decided to continue to gag us for another eight weeks to keep the identity of the hospital and the clinicians secret.
“We cannot even name the people who, in our darkest hour, have made it worse for Sudiksha and the whole family.”
In a statement, University Hospitals Birmingham praised the “devotion and dedication” Sudiksha’s family had shown towards the teenager.
They added: “We offer our sincere and heartfelt condolences to Sudiksha’s family and loved ones, at this devastating and difficult time for them.”
The spokesperson described her illness as “incurable and progressive: there was no known treatment that would be effective”, adding it was unclear whether Sudiksha would have been well enough to make the journey to North America even if a placement and funding had been confirmed.