Saturday, November 27, 2021
HomeMedico-LegalSisters lose UK court fight over 'goodbye hug' for father in coma

Sisters lose UK court fight over 'goodbye hug' for father in coma

Three sisters in the UK have failed to persuade a judge to rule that their brain-damaged father should be kept alive until they can get to his bedside and say goodbye, reports BBC News. The sisters, one in her late teens and two in their early 20s, wanted life-support treatment until they could fly to Britain from their home in Canada.

But continuing the treatment would compromise the 50-year-old's dignity, Mr Justice Hayden said.

BBC News reports that Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust asked the Court of Protection to rule. The father had recently suffered a stroke and was in a coma, specialists told the court. The judge, who said the man could not be named in media reports of the case, ruled that doctors could lawfully stop providing treatment and move him to palliative care. He said he had to decide what was in the man's best interests and that he should be allowed to die with dignity.

Mr Justice Hayden considered evidence at a virtual hearing in the Court of Protection, where judges consider issues relating to people who lack the mental capacity to take decisions for themselves.

According to the report, the sisters said their father, who is divorced from their mother and re-married, would have wanted them to say goodbye. They estimated it would take three weeks to get to the hospital where he was being treated, given the coronavirus crisis.

One asked the judge: "Please keep him on the ventilator until we are able to come out." The man's second wife and brother wanted doctors to keep providing treatment in the hope that he would improve. His daughters accepted he would not recover, but wanted him to be kept alive until they could say goodbye in person.

Mr Justice Hayden said the man's second wife was in shock and "simply could not engage" with the medical evidence.

BBC News reports that managers at the trust, who have responsibility for the man's care, had asked to judge to rule what moves were in his best interests.

 

[link url="https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-birmingham-56049696"]Full BBC News report (Open access)[/link]

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