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Catholic man in coma can be allowed to die despite mother's objections

by Press Association

A middle-aged Catholic man who was left in a coma after a cardiac arrest can be allowed to die despite his mother's objections, a High Court judge has ruled.

Mr Justice Cohen heard that the man had suffered brain damage and had been in a coma for several weeks.

Specialists said his condition would never significantly improve and thought life-support treatment should end.

His wife agreed and told the judge that he had talked of not wanting to be a "burden".

But his mother, and sisters, disagreed.

They said that, because of his Catholic beliefs, he would not have wanted his life to be terminated if it could be preserved.

Mr Justice Cohen ruled on Tuesday that doctors could end life-support treatment, after examining evidence at a hearing in the Court of Protection, where issues relating to people who lack the mental capacity to make decisions for themselves are considered.

The judge, who is based in London and also hears cases in the Family Division of the High Court, said the man had been married for the best part of 20 years and concluded that his wife had a better idea of what his views would have been.

He said the man could not be named in media reports of the cases.

Bosses at the University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust have responsibility for the man's care and had asked the judge to rule that ending life-support treatment would be lawfu

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