Don't let hospital turn off Dad's life support, family pleads

Relatives battle the NHS in High Court for right to keep brain-damaged man alive

The family of a man left in a persistent vegetative state after a cardiac arrest pleaded for his right to be kept alive before the High Court yesterday.

Five weeks ago the 55-year-old, who can be identified only as L, suffered a third cardiac arrest which left him severely brain damaged with "no meaningful prospect of further recovery".

Yesterday a barrister for Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust insisted that to resuscitate him in case of a life-threatening event would simply be "prolongation of death and lack of dignity". Because L is considered a vulnerable adult, the health trust went before the Court of Protection, seeking a declaration that it would not be in his best interests to give ventilation or resuscitation.

But his family insists it is "simply too soon" to determine whether his condition is permanent or to declare that his quality of life will be so limited or wretched, as one doctor had concluded, that life-saving treatment would be futile, as "some degree of responsiveness" had been seen.

His son, referred to as Mr Fl, told the court that L had always looked disapproving when he heard about decisions to turn off life support.

Furthermore as devout Muslims, Mr Fl said that "we believe that you prolong life as far as you can go and that you actively take every step to so do".

"My father was very aware of these issues and often when we heard stories in the media about negligence and decisions to turn off life support, he would wince his face and give a look of disapproval. It was a solemn look of disapproval and sadness." L's wife described her husband of almost 40 years as a "happy, loving person and a loving and caring father", part of "a very close family" with several adult children.

The family's lawyers told the court that a "Do not resuscitate" (DNR) notice was placed in his notes without consulting them in contravention of the hospital trust's own policy. They remain adamant that, if he could express his wishes, his faith would mean he would never agree to such an order.

Speaking on behalf of L's wife, solicitor Helen Lewis said: "As a family, they want to be fully involved in the decision-making process so proper regard can be given to how L lived his life and what they believe he would have wanted". But Claire Watson, for the health trust, said it was the unanimous view of clinicians treating L, as well as independent experts, that he had "minimal prospects of improving any neurological function and no meaningful prospect of further recovery".

He is in a high dependency unit, off a ventilator after a tracheostomy to protect his airway, but consultants had said that he would remain profoundly physically and mentally impaired.

An independent expert in intensive care said it was "absolutely unrealistic" to expect any further neurological recovery. Doctors believe that, if L was capable of feeling pain on a basic level, which was difficult to know, he would suffer as he deteriorated.

Ms Watson told Mr Justice Moylan, at the court in London, that doctors agree treatment should be limited to relieving pain and discomfort: "Rather than there being the prolongation of life, there would be the prolongation of death and lack of dignity."

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
filmPoldark production team claims innocence of viewers' ab frenzy
Life and Style
Google marks the 81st anniversary of the Loch Ness Monster's most famous photograph
techIt's the 81st anniversary of THAT iconic photograph
News
Katie Hopkins makes a living out of courting controversy
people
News
General Election
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Office Administrator

    £14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Office Administrator is requ...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - Commercial Vehicles - OTE £40,000

    £12000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to expansion and growth of ...

    Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer - Sheffield - £50,000

    £40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer position with a...

    Recruitment Genius: Operations Leader - Plasma Processing

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An Operations Leader is required to join a lea...

    Day In a Page

    Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

    Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

    His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
    'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

    Open letter to David Cameron

    Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
    Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

    You don't say!

    Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
    Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

    So what is Mubi?

    Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
    The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

    The hardest job in theatre?

    How to follow Kevin Spacey
    Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

    Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

    To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
    Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

    'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

    The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
    Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

    This human tragedy has been brewing for years

    EU states can't say they were not warned
    Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

    Women's sportswear

    From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
    Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

    Clinton's clothes

    Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
    NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

    Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

    A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
    How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

    How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

    Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
    From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

    The wars that come back to haunt us

    David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
    Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders