Muslim man's right-to-life court case adjourned until October
- 23 August 2012
- From the section Manchester
A Muslim man's right-to-live court battle has been adjourned until October after claims he is no longer in a persistent vegetative state.
A QC for the family of "Mr L" from Greater Manchester told a high court judge new video evidence has been seen by an independent expert in neurology.
The judge adjourned the case of the 55-year-old man until 1 October.
Mr Justice Moylan said Mr L should be resuscitated if he suffers a fresh cardiac arrest before the next hearing.
But he added doctors did not have to revive him if they judged that such action would not restart his heart and maintain breathing.
"No medical practitioner or nurse is required to act contrary to their professional judgment and duties as assessed at the relevant time," he said.
Mr L's family is disputing the Pennine Acute Hospitals Trust policy not to treat the man if he worsens.
They argue, according to their Muslim faith, "life is sacred" and everything must be done to prolong life - including life-prolonging treatment, no matter the pain - "until God takes it away".
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 a statement in which he accepted there was a "closing of eyes and grimacing" when Mr L's eyes were cleaned, which was filmed.
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" but it had not 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".
Patient L suffered severe brain damage in July following a third cardiac arrest and his medical team had stated he was in a persistent vegetative state.
Doctors argue he would have "minimal prospects of improving neurological function" and no "meaningful quality of life" if treatment was given.