86-year-old man dies after son claimed hospital was 'starving him to death'

The day before his death, the Court of Protection ruled that doctors were right not to tube-feed Mr Thompson because it was a risky procedure and could cause him unnecessary pain

Click to follow
The Independent Online

An 86-year-old man suffering from advanced dementia has died in hospital after his son claimed he was “starving to death”.

Stanley Thompson died on Wednesday, a day after his son, Stan, lost a legal battle for him to be tube-feed. The pensioner had been diagnosed with dementia in 2014 and was suffering from the condition’s advanced stages. 

According to Stan, his father had difficulty swallowing and was therefore starving in a Liverpool hospital. He asked for the pensioner to be fitted with a feeding tube. However, the staff refused his request, arguing that it would be unethical to do so and would cause him pain. They said the procedure would be risky and would not be likely to improve his life expectancy.

Mrs Justice Roberts heard the case in a public hearing on Tuesday at the Court of Protection, which hears cases relating to vulnerable people who lack the mental capacity to make decisions. Stan told the court: “My father is effectively starving to death. He has not eaten a morsel for six weeks. He cannot eat and the hospital has just overseen his starvation.”

Doctors stated that their treatment complied with medical guidelines and they had hydrated Stanley through the use of a drip, as well as offering him pureed food.

The judge ruled in favour of the doctors and said she agreed with the medics’ analysis. She said that their focus had to be on ensuring that the pensioner would end his life in as much peace and comfort as possible.

With additional reporting by PA