Medics can continue feeding man in 'quality of life' dispute

Medics have been given the go-ahead to continue feeding a bed-bound man with severe learning disabilities who had been at the centre of a "quality of life" dispute in a specialist court.

Doctors said the man, who is in his 50s, was medically stable and should continue to be fed artificially through a tube.

They said he had limited communication skills but could say "yes" and "no', enjoyed listening to the radio and liked watching Arsenal on television.

But his relatives had argued that he had no "quality of life" and said feeding should stop so that he could "die naturally".

Mr Justice Mostyn began overseeing the dispute at a trial in the Court of Protection, where judges consider issues relating to people who lack the mental capacity to make decisions, in London on Wednesday.

Lawyers told the judge on Thursday that medics had reached agreement with man's relatives.

They said the man would continue to be fed and cared for and relatives would be consulted about treatment.

Mr Justice Mostyn said he had never heard of the provision of nutrition and hydration being withdrawn from someone who was medically stable.

Lawyers said the case might be the first of its kind.

The judge said it raised a "big question" about how "quality of life" was defined.

He said neither the man, who lives in England, nor the hospital authority involved can be identified.

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