In the latest of a string of cases in recent weeks a 55-year old man who was left with severe brain damage after suffering a cardiac arrest, thanks to his family, will be resuscitated should he suffer another cardiac arrest and put on a ventilator in the hope that “God will make him better.” Relatives of ‘Mr. L recorded him moving his eyes and mouth, after a hospital attempted to withhold treatment from him.
Helen Lewis, a clinical negligence solicitor said: “The family feel vindicated in contesting the Trust’s application, but even more importantly they are relieved that medically L is not in a vegetative state and there is hope of recovery. It certainly is a sobering thought that the trust would have put in place a ‘Do not resuscitate’ order if the family had not have challenged their stance through the legal system.”
In at least three recent cases hospitals have gone to court to withhold or withdraw treatment, in the face of opposition from religious relatives.
In one case a judge ruled that a baby left comatose after a catastrophic accident could have his ventilator switched off by doctors despite his parents’ belief that “where there’s life there’s hope”. In a separate case a judge ordered that doctors could remove life-support from an 8 year old, regardless of his devout Christian family’s pleas for him to be kept alive in case of a miracle.
Great Ormond Street experts claim that parents who believe in divine intervention are putting children through aggressive but futile treatments.
The case of Mr. L has been adjourned until the 1st October this year. The trust accepted that “clearly there has been a change in the diagnosis” (as a result of the video evidence) Mr. L is no longer in a persistent vegetative state, but it may not yet alter the care plan set out for the patient.