Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Life-support patient who refused stoma allowed to die

Barnsley hospital Image copyright Google
Image caption The man's parents had told the court their son's wishes should be respected

An ill man who did not want to live with a stoma has died after a judged ruled life-support treatment could end.

The man in his 30s had signed an "advanced decision" to indicate his wishes and he was sedated in Barnsley Hospital following major surgery.

He had a history of bowel problems and specialists had given him a 60% to 70% chance of surviving but had said he would have needed a permanent stoma.

A stoma is an abdominal opening to allow faeces or urine to be collected.

The Court of Protection judge, Mr Justice Hayden, had been told the man had made a written decision saying he would not want to live with that arrangement, having already experienced living with a temporary stoma before.

'Not choosing to die'

Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust made an application to court to decide what was in his best interests.

The man's parents had said their son's wishes should be respected.

The Court of Protection rules on people who lack the mental capacity to make decisions for themselves.

The judge ruled the man could be allowed to die after a virtual hearing earlier in the month.

Mr Justice Hayden said many people lived "perfectly full lives" with a stoma but the man had delivered a consistent message about his wishes.

The judge said the man had endured a "decade of serious ill health" and in the man's own view had a "desperately reduced" quality of life.

"In a real sense this is not a case about choosing to die, it is about an adult's capacity to shape and control the end of his life," the judge said.

Lawyers for the trust said life-support treatment had been withdrawn and the man had died.

Mr Justice Hayden ruled the man could not be identified until three months after his death.

The trust's lawyers asked the press to consider if it would "ever be truly necessary" to identify him.

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