One-Year-Old With Cancer Dies in Her Parents’ Arms After Doctors Refuse Treatment

International   |   Sarah Zagorski   |   Feb 19, 2015   |   6:08PM   |   London, England

On February 17, one-year-old Olivia Stance died after her parents lost their long court battle to keep her on life support. Olivia was born with liver cancer and received two rounds of chemotherapy at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London. Remarkably, she beat the odds and celebrated her first birthday earlier this month.

However, Olivia suffered from multiple blood infections and organ failures and doctors didn’t see that it was in her best interest to continue treatment.

Initially, Olivia’s parents, Maria and George Stance, were planning to oppose the courts decision to remove her from life support but then announced that they were going to drop their legal challenge. Olivia’s life support was withdrawn and she was given an intravenous infusion of painkillers to keep her relaxed and sedated. She died in the hospital’s roof garden alone with her parents.


An associate solicitor representing the family, Anne-Marie said, “Following yesterday’s court hearings, Olivia died in her parents arms shortly after the family made their way up to the rooftop garden at the hospital. This is obviously a very difficult time for them and they now need space to grieve the loss of their daughter who has been bravely fighting for her life for a year.”

In a statement on Facebook, the couple said, “With the greatest sadness and broken hearts we have to tell you that our baby girl became an angel this evening. Thank you so much for your support. Lots of love from Olivia and us.”

Maria added, “Following the decision not to give her blood pressure drugs, our beloved daughter Olivia had no more chances and yesterday at lunch we decided to keep the promises we made to her.”


A spokesman from the hospital shared the following about case with the Daily Mail: “Our thoughts are with Olivia’s family at this extremely difficult time. We appreciate how hugely distressing the past year has been for them and we are continuing to support them in every way we can. Olivia was an extremely ill child with a very complex and unusual combination of conditions.  We tried everything we could to strengthen Olivia and give her the best possible chance of survival, having provided her with the maximum level of treatment and 24-hour nursing care on our Intensive Care Unit for the past 12 months.”

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He concluded, “However she reached the point where she was no longer responding to treatment and had been in multiple organ failure for a number of months. Olivia was a true fighter, and this was matched by the strength and dedication of her parents. We are so glad they managed to have the private time they needed as a family before she died.”