British authorities accused of euthanasia by the 'back door' after ordering withdrawal of nutrition and fluids from disabled man

(Photo: Unsplash/Bill Oxford)

The mother of a disabled Polish man living in the UK has spoken of her anguish after the courts ruled that life-sustaining treatment be withdrawn.

The order from the Court of Protection comes into force at 4pm on 7 January after the mother of the Catholic man, who has a brain injury, lost a last-ditch legal battle. 

The ruling was made by Mr Justice Cohen despite the court hearing from consultant neurologist and Catholic priest, Rev Dr Patrick Pullicino, that the man's condition had improved since the original decision to withdraw nutrition and fluids, and that he had a 50 per cent chance of eventually recovering from his brain injury. 

The judge ignored Dr Pullicino's evidence, saying that he did not find him a "satisfactory witness", and denied requests from Poland to repatriate the man, named only as RS, on the grounds that he might "die in transit". 

Permission to withdraw treatment was requested by doctors at University Hospital Plymouth NHS Trust, who claim that sustaining life is "not in his best interests". 

At an earlier hearing, Judge Cohen ruled that although RS could survive "for up to five years or more", he would never recover beyond a "minimally conscious state" in which he could barely "acknowledge a presence of another human being".

RS's mother, who has been assisted by the Christian Legal Centre and whose name cannot be published under the court order, has accused the British courts of making a rushed decision that fails to take into account her son's Catholic beliefs about the sanctity of life.

"I am devastated that the British authorities have decided to dehydrate my son to death. I want to take my son back to his own country, where I would be allowed to care for him," she said. 

"What the British authorities are trying to do to my son is euthanasia by a back door."