Barnsley hospital stoma patient's right to die
Jun. 02, 2020
A judge is considering whether a man with a history of bowel problems should be allowed to die because he does not want to live with a stoma.
The man, in his 30s, is sedated in intensive care in Barnsley Hospital after undergoing major surgery.
A stoma is an opening in the abdomen and a bag is attached to collect faeces or urine.
The patient has already made a written "advanced decision" saying he would not want to live with a permanent stoma.
Hospital bosses have asked judge Mr Justice Hayden to decide what is in the man's best interests.
The judge said the man should not be identified as he considered evidence at a virtual Court of Protection hearing on Monday.
The court rules on people who lack the mental capacity to make their own decisions.
The patient would need a permanent stoma to survive.
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Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust cares for the man and has asked for a ruling.
The man's parents said at the hearing their son's wishes should be respected and he should be allowed to die.
The man's mother said he had "hated" a temporary stoma fitted following previous surgery.
Mr Justice Hayden said many people lived "perfectly full lives" with a stoma and he has "a good-ish prospect of recovery" but the man had delivered a "consistent" message.
"There is pretty powerful evidence that life for him lost its spice when he had a stoma."
Sarah Castle, the Official Solicitor whose office helps vulnerable people in litigation, said the man should be allowed to die.
The trust said it was "neutral" and would abide by the judge's decision.
A ruling is expected in the next few days.
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