Muslim man's family in right-to-life court battle
Date published: 20 August 2012
The family of a Muslim man in a vegetative state are challenging in court a hospital trust which does not want to revive him if he deteriorates.
Doctors at the Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust say resuscitation would not be in the best interests of Patient L, who cannot be named for legal reasons.
But relatives of the 55-year-old from Greater Manchester argue that to let him die would be against his religion.
The case is being heard at the Court of Protection, at the High Court, London.
One of Patient L's sons told the court in a statement that, as Muslims, "we believe that you prolong life as far as you can go and that you actively take every step to so do".
He added: "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."
Claire Watson, appearing for the trust, said it was the unanimous view of clinicians and independent experts that he was in a persistent vegetative state.
The patient has "minimal prospects of improving any neurological function and no meaningful prospect of further recovery", the court was told.
"Rather than there being the prolongation of life, there would be the prolongation of death and lack of dignity," Ms Watson added.
Patient L suffered severe brain damage following a third cardiac arrest in mid-July and relatives say it is too early to determine whether he is in a "permanent" vegetative state, arguing they have observed "some degree of responsiveness".
A Do Not Resuscitate notice was placed in his notes without consulting the family in contravention of the trust's own policy, the court heard, and it was later taken out following objections.
Patient L's wife said in a written statement they were "a very close family", describing her husband of 40 years as a "happy, loving person and a loving and caring father".
The family have asked to judge to rule that "all steps" should be taken to preserve patient L's life.
The case continues.
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