Could, and should, greater effort have been expended attempting to ascertain whether Archie Battersbee was alive and conscious, and his wishes and feelings about the proposed ending of his life-support treatment?
Archie Battersbee was in hospital when he died, brain-injured so badly that if he was conscious, he was unable to exhibit consciousness by (say) responding verbally to ordinary enquiries addressed to him, questions such as, “Are you comfortable?”, or by moving fingers or facial muscles to answer such questions. He may even have been brain-stem dead by the time his treatment was withdrawn. I hope he was already brain dead for his sake, given what has been done to him. Perhaps a post-mortem will shed more light on that unknown.
Reportedly, Archie was in a coma, apparently unable to breathe without artificial support. The learned barrister and blogger Matthew Scott has posted today saying that Mr Justice Hayden was right to bring Archie’s futile treatment to an end. On the limited evidence before the public and Hayden J, I am not minded to dispute the rightness of the learned judge’s ruling, or of Matthew’s applauding of it. However, I suspect that, by all accounts, the hospital may have fallen short of the need to make adequate accommodations for a patient who may have suffered from a communication disability rather than a loss of all consciousness, as in the case of the late Scott Routley. Continue reading
How easy it can sometimes be nowadays, to listen to a locked-in patient’s silent answers to questions! (If the doctor can be bothered, that is, because he cares what his patient thinks and is feeling.)
Dying for a drink isn’t a pleasant way for anyone to be forced to spend Christmas, but it is the fate chosen by his British NHS doctors, his wife, and the British judiciary, for one unfortunate Polish fellow, despite the objections of the Polish government and his Polish mother and two sisters. This patient has been prescribed death by thirst. The slow taking of his life began yesterday, a Christmas present for him which he might well have said was unwanted, if only he had been asked.
To describe dying of thirst – not a nice way to go by all accounts (even when it’s not Christmas) – as “euthanasia”, is something of a euphemism. But it appears to be the best treatment the British NHS can offer this unfortunate patient, or so they told the courts. I am suspicious that the NHS didn’t try all that hard to discover the patient’s own preferences as to how and when he’d like to die. As you will learn, if you continue reading, there was quite a lot the NHS could have tried, if they’d wanted to find out what the patient thought and how he felt about his situation.
An episode filmed in the lifelong family tragedy of one child’s ruined childhood, when he was only 4, helped lead to a courtroom comedy more than two years later.
Events including (but not confined to) those caught on camera as shown in the video, led to a court case that ended somewhat comically in 2017. Comically, but, alas, not happily for the child concerned.
First, the incident that, in part, kicked off the court case. The following video was shot in December 2014.
The late Scott Douglas Routley had a nasty road traffic accident around the turn of the century, which damaged his brain. By 2012, Scott had been comatose, persistently vegetative, “locked-in” – or however you want to put it – for 12 years. He couldn’t move, or talk. Continue reading
The evidence in the T1 human rights claim in the Investigatory Powers Tribunal that is the current stage of the litigation that began as Philip Kerr -v- MI5 in the High Court, was filed electronically a week ago today. The photo shows the hard copy that was posted to the IPT yesterday.
Download the evidence workbook
If you want to be amongst the first to receive news, as it breaks, of this legal action, including any future public hearing, please follow me on my blog, Twitter and Facebook.
My contact details
I was on my cell phone to a journalist, trying to arrange media coverage of a certain court hearing a few days later, in an organised stalking case in which I had by then been involved for about 18 months, and in which I took the next step in the litigation last week. A “wrong number” call on my home phone, from an unknown stranger, interrupted me. I put the journalist on hold to take the land line call. The stranger asked very deliberately if this was the right number for “Sidney [pause] John A [pause] Gabriel“.
Should I appeal?
I believe that the late Darrim Daoud lived, and died, the best hero he had it in him to be, a hero of whom his father and mother can justly be proud, whatever belittling the papers might have to say about their fallen son, the few column-inches they had to spare at the time.