Doctors let patient end his life

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The Independent Online
DOCTORS allowed a terminally ill man to end his life in hospital by disconnecting himself from a ventilator, an inquest was told yesterday.

John Lovell, 63, had begged medical staff at St Thomas's Hospital, London, to let him die after he had repeatedly disconnected the machine on 7 July last year. He said: 'Have I no rights?' as nurses struggled to reconnect him.

Dr Geoffrey Spencer, an anaesthetist, said that the hospital's decision not to interfere had been in the patient's best interests. He told the inquest at Southwark Coroner's Court: 'I am still unable to think of any other course of action we could have taken.'

Mr Lovell had been attached to a ventilator by way of tracheotomy for eight years after his lungs collapsed due to emphysema and tuberculosis.

The jury returned a verdict of death by natural causes.