Polish clinic offers to take Pole ‘in a coma’ after UK court rules he should be left to die
A clinic in Poland has offered to accept a Polish man lying in a coma in a British hospital who has been disconnected from food and water after an English court ruled that he could be left to die.
The man, who has not been named, has been in a coma in a Plymouth hospital since November 6 after suffering a cardiac arrest. The heart attack lasted for 45 minutes and left him with what doctors have described as severe and permanent brain damage.
The offer could extend a protracted legal battle between various factions of the man’s family over his future, which has even involved the European Court of Human Rights.
"There is no problem with bringing the patient to us," Professor Wojciech Maksymowicz, an MP from the Agreement party and a member of the supervisory board of the Budzik Clinic, told interia.pl.
The professor, who is a neurosurgeon and a professor of medical sciences, added that he had been in contact with President Andrzej Duda about the case, and that even though the man is being denied food and water, the fact that he is breathing unassisted warrants an attempt to bring him back to Poland.
"That is enough for me,” said Professor Maksymowicz. “It does not matter whether he is in a vegetative state or minimal consciousness. In such a situation, you have to hold out your hand to the patient and try."
The offer to move the man to Poland, however, could be challenged by the man’s wife and children.
They supported a successful application by the hospital to a court for permission to turn off his life support system so that he could die while receiving palliative care.
However, the patient's mother and sister in Poland have argued that the man, as a practising Catholic, would oppose the turning off of life support owing to his faith.
In an appeal to an English court they also claimed that the man’s condition had improved, and produced video evidence, recorded on a mobile phone, apparently showing him blinking when they were in the room.
One of the man’s sisters earlier told TFN: “This is terrible and outrageous. He reacts to his name, catches eye contact, he cried when his sister went there [to the hospital].
“This is murder! This is the murder of a man by starvation and dehydration.”
But the court rejected the evidence and their arguments, stating that it was in the man’s best interests to be given palliative care after his life support had been discontinued.
Following the loss of their appeal, his mother and sister have said they would like the Polish government to become involved in the matter, and also took their case to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.
But in another twist in the long-running saga it rejected their plea, leaving doctors free to let him die. Despite this, and despite his life support being turned off twice before, the man is still alive and his case has been subject to numerous appeals.
On Tuesday, Polish Sejm (lower house) Speaker Elżbieta Witek discussed the man's situation with Britain's Ambassador to Poland Anna Clunes. Witek also stated that she had written in the matter to the speaker of the British House of Commons.
On Monday, Clunes discussed the situation with Krzysztof Szczerski, aide to Polish President Andrzej Duda.