United Kingdom

Christian group fight judge's ruling that a man has right to die as he does not to live with a stoma

A Christian campaign group is calling for an urgent review of a High Court decision to allow a 34-year-old man to die because he said he does not want to live with a colostomy bag.

A judge last week ruled that the man, who is sedated on an intensive care ward, should be allowed to die because he had previously made it clear he did not want to live with a permanent stoma, a surgical hole in the stomach to which a colostomy bag is attached to collect digestive waste.

Mr Justice Hayden said the man, referred to only as MSP, did not want to live with a stoma if it permanently limited his social or sex life. 

Christian Concern are fighting a High Court ruling, made by Mr Justice Hayden (pictured), which allows a 34-year-old man, who is in intensive care at Barnsley Hospital, to die

He wrote: 'There is powerful evidence that as a young man in his thirties… he could never accept life [after such surgery].' 

He added that the case 'revolves around MSP's own expressed wishes' and pointed to a document which MSP drew up in February saying he would refuse 'the formation of a stoma… that is expected to be permanent'.

Campaign group Christian Concern argues the ruling is flawed because it ignores the fact MSP agreed to have a stoma operation on May 27 – signalling an apparent change of mind. 

It is this operation that has left him in intensive care at Barnsley Hospital. 

The man made it clear he did not want to live with a permanent stoma, which is a surgical hole in the stomach to which a colostomy bag is attached to collect digestive waste (file image)

Andrea Williams, chief executive of Christian Concern, said: 'We have a young man with a serious medical condition who appears to have changed his mind about not wanting to live with a stoma. 

However, Mr Justice Hayden seems to have disregarded this and decided what MSP wrote in February represented his 'true' wishes.'

The case was decided in the Court of Protection, part of the High Court, which Mrs Williams described as 'secretive', adding: 'This man's life hangs in the balance because of a judgment that begs many questions, and we are calling on the Justice Secretary [Robert Buckland] to set up an urgent public inquiry into the operation of this legal system.'

Christian Concern is also writing to Barnsley Hospital urging it to delay withdrawal of MSP's life support. 

The hospital said it could not comment.

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