Family fighting for right to keep father alive are told that signs he recognised them were simply reflex movements
A family pleading for the right to keep
a father in a persistent vegetative state alive were today told that what
they believed were signs he recognised them were simply reflex movements.
Just five weeks ago the 55-year-old, who can only be identified as L, suffered a third cardiac arrest which left him severely brain damaged, “awake but unaware”, with his chances of recovery “exceptionally remote”.
His wife and sons are fighting a Court of Protection application by Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust to implement a do not resuscitate order, insisting that upon daily visits he had reacted by following them with his eyes and expressing emotion.
“We feel strongly that (L) is able to understand us, hear us and we believe he reacts,” his wife said in a statement, describing him previously as a "happy, loving person and a loving and caring father".
But today a consultant in intensive care, giving evidence, concurred with all the medics treating L, as well as the recorded electrical brain activity, that there were no signs he was aware. During a three-hour visit by the doctor, Mr L’s son had tried to prove his point in vain.
“One could explain it sympathetically and pragmatically on the basis they do want to believe that he is capable of recognising them and making some response,” said the doctor, adding that what they had seen were common reflex responses by a PVS patient.
In contrast he estimated that L had a five per cent chance of improving to a “minimally conscious” state but, if pushed to put a figure on it, only a 1 in 10,000 likelihood of making a meaningful recovery: “If there was clear evidence that L was capable of taking pleasure from his surroundings and from his family, of exercising some control over his environment and a general interpretation of his emotions was that he was happy with his condition then we would say he had made a meaningful recovery.
“(For L) I don’t see it at this point and I don’t foresee it.”
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.
L’s family insist that it is simply too soon to make the decision and, largely due to his strong Islamic faith, he would want to be resuscitated in the event of a life threatening event such as another cardiac arrest.
But the doctor said that, while taking the family’s views into consideration, a clinician had to judge what quality of life he would have if resuscitated, whether it would be characterised by “pleasure or discomfort and distress”.
- 1 Jeremy Clarkson 'sees no problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC
- 2 'Alien thigh bone' on Mars: Excitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
- 3 Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
- 4 London restaurant 34 creates champagne glass modelled on Kate Moss’ left breast
- 5 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
'Alien thigh bone' on Mars: Excitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
Russell Brand opposes anti-Semitism after death threats: 'We must disavow all forms of prejudice that lead to exclusion and execution'
James Foley 'beheaded': Isis video shows militant with British accent 'execute US journalist' – as hunt begins for killer
ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
Microbial life found living on the exterior of the International Space Station, say reports
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Bin bag full of cats' heads discovered near Manchester's Curry Mile
Disgusting, frustrating, but intriguing: how the country really feels about its politicians
£45000 per annum + pension,medical: Ashdown Group: A successful & reputable gl...
£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...
£35000 per annum + £5k bonus, car: Ashdown Group: A successful business that h...
£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A large and well established business is look...