Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Decision for terminally-ill man's right to die delayed

A decision on whether doctors can allow a terminally-ill man to die has been delayed by a High Court judge.

The man, a musician in his 50s, has a condition which affects the nerves of the brain stem.

Lawyers representing the Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust have said he would not recover.

Mr Justice Hayden said he wanted more evidence before deciding whether the trust could stop providing food and water to the patient.

At the public hearing in the Court of Protection in London, the judge was told the man had lost the ability to swallow, was immobile and could not communicate.

The trust's lawyers said specialists wanted permission not to resuscitate him if he suffered a cardiac arrest and not to administer antibiotics if he developed a serious infection.

'Best interest'

Lawyers also analysed the possibility of stopping the provision of hydration and nutrition.

Mr Justice Hayden said the man could not be identified but the trust could be named.

He heard evidence from specialists, the musician's ex-wife and some of his friends.

There was evidence the man would not have wanted to be in hospital and that he had "lost the will to live" when his condition prevented him from drumming, he said.

"I am very clear that [he] doesn't want to be in hospital," said the judge.

"I know of very, very few cases where a person's actual wishes have been so clear.

"He would not like what is being offered at the moment and he would want to die as quickly as possible. There is a lot of evidence which suggests that it is in his best interest for that to happen."

The judge indicated that he would not make a decision until later in the summer.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites