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UK News

Archbishop Vincent Nichols asked to intervene in end of life case involving Catholic man

by Premier Journalist

The leader of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales has been asked to intervene in the case of a Polish Catholic man who has been at the centre of a legal end-of-life dispute in Plymouth.

The middle-age man, whose identity is unknown, had a heart attack on 6th November that left his brain without oxygen for almost an hour. He has since been in a coma. 

A London-based judge ruled it was in the man's best interests to have life-support withdraw as his wife had said that he wouldn't have wanted to be a burden. However, the man's mother, sisters and niece insist that his faith would not allow for his life to be terminated. 

In a letter, the President of the Conference of Catholic Bishops in Poland, Archbishop Stanislaw Gadecki said the man "had been sentenced to death by starvation", following a recent ruling that allowed doctors to stop providing life-support. 

Supported by the Christian Legal Centre, the family took the case to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg but failed to achieve their intervention.   

In the letter, Archbishop Stanislaw has sided with the man's mother and sisters and recommended that the Archbishop of Westminster should mediate as the family want the patient to be returned to Poland. 

"The authorities of our country assured that they would cover the costs of treatment and transport. The British court does not agree to transport the patient as the journey may be life-threatening," Archbishop Stanislaw said. 

He continued: "I turn to Your Eminence - as the President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales - asking for your help in this difficult matter and to undertake steps towards saving the life of our compatriot."

In a tweet, the Polish President's Chief of Staff said he had discussed the matter with the Polish Ambassador to the UK, Anna Clunes, and is in "constant contact with consuls who are in Plymouth". 

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