Muslim man in court case no longer in 'vegetative state'

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A Muslim man at the centre of a right-to-live court battle is no longer in a persistent vegetative state, London's High Court has heard.

A QC for the family of "Mr L" from Greater Manchester told the judge new video evidence has been seen by an independent expert in neurology.

The family of the 55-year-old man say he would want to be revived, due to his faith, if his condition deteriorated.

Pennine Acute Hospitals Trust does not want to treat the man if he worsens.

Dr Peter Newman, a neurology specialist, was expected to support the trust's application for a declaration that it would not be in Mr L's best interests to offer him ventilation or resuscitation if there is "a life-threatening event".

However, on Wednesday night the family visited Mr L with a trust doctor, the family's QC Jenni Richards told Mr Justice Moylan.

Although not a neurologist, the doctor produced overnight a statement in which he accepted there was a "closing of eyes and grimacing" when Mr L's eyes were cleaned which was filmed.

'Further improvement possible'

Ms Richards told the court: "That video footage was viewed this morning by Dr Newman and Dr Newman's view... was that Mr L was no longer in a persistent vegetative state."

Claire Watson, appearing for the trust, said that "clearly there has been a change in the diagnosis" which Dr Newman "has communicated to us this morning".

But it had not yet been possible "to obtain a definitive view from the treating clinicians at the hospital whether or not that will alter their care plan for L".

She added Dr Newman described his condition as "most likely in a minimally conscious state" and added that indicated that "further improvement is possible" for Mr L.

Solicitor Helen Lewis said on behalf of Mr L's family outside the court: "The family are pleased that the responses from L which they have witnessed have now been accepted in evidence by an independent expert.

"The trust's clinicians now need to reassess the position in the light of the latest developments."

Patient L suffered severe brain damage in July following a third cardiac arrest and his medical team stated he is now in a persistent vegetative state.

Doctors had said he would have "minimal prospects of improving neurological function" and no "meaningful quality of life" if treatment were given.

The trust is seeking a declaration that it would not be in Mr L's best interests to offer him ventilation or resuscitation if there is "a life-threatening event".

The family said "life is sacred" and everything must be done to prolong life "until God takes it away" according to their religion.

The case continues.

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