Poland waits as British gov’t to decide fate of Polish Catholic starving in English hospital
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LONDON, England, January 24, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — A Warsaw court has declared the repatriation of a Polish citizen being starved and dehydrated in an English hospital lawful.
Now RS’s family, government, and Poland herself are waiting for the British authorities to release him into their care.
The Polish patient, who sustained serious brain-damage in early November after suffering a heart attack, was granted diplomatic status by the Polish Government on Friday, in the belief that this would remove him from the jurisdiction of the British courts. On December 15, the UK Court of Protection granted permission to an NHS hospital and wife to decide between them when to stop RS’s life-sustaining treatment. A Warsaw court subsequently gave Poland permission to bring her citizen home.
“All we need is that consent of Great Britain,” Poland’s deputy Justice Minister, Marcin Warchoł, told his nation’s media.
“I trust that such consent will be given quickly.”
Warchoł described the negotiations between Poland and Britain for the survival of the Polish citizen as a “game for the life of our compatriot.”
“I believe that we will win; I believe that the civilization of life will conquer the civilization of death,” he said.
“We cannot abandon any of our countrymen. Protection for life from conception until natural death belongs to our culture, faith and traditions.”
But Britain’s consent has not been “given quickly.” Yesterday one of RS’s two sisters tweeted a plea to Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, asking him to take part in the negotiations.
“Mr Prime Minister @MorawieckiM😛lease urgently get involved in the matter of my brother,” she wrote.
“We believe that [the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs] is doing everything possible to help him."
An interview with RS’s other sister, who lives in England, was published by Poland’s national broadcaster, TVP, yesterday evening. A British court order forbids the publication of the name and any other details that might identify RS, his wife, his family, his doctors or his hospital. The Polish media has ignored this, publishing the Christian names of RS and his sisters, and broadcasting videos of RS in his hospital bed.
“I am very grateful to the [Polish] Minister of Justice, to Minster Marcin Warchoł, for his initiative and actions,” RS’s sister said.
“We are waiting for whatever happens next to happen as soon as possible because my brother is still without water and nutrition,” she continued.
“Minister Warchoł has asked Britain’s Health Secretary about [re]connecting [the feeding tube]. We have doubts that this will work because the British side does not want to act on the question of this [re]connection. We are simply waiting,” she said.
RS has not received nutrition or more hydration than is strictly necessary to deliver “palliative care”, analgesics and sedation, since January 14. His doctors testified in December that, although RS could live for five or more years with clinically assisted nutrition and hydration [CANH], he had only a small chance of moving into even a minimally conscious state. For this reason, they applied to the UK’s Court of Protection for permission to stop “medical treatment,” as CANH is considered in Britain, and begin “palliative care.” In this the University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust was supported by RS’s legal wife, a divorcee whose civil marriage to RS was used by the courts as evidence that RS, a church-going Catholic, might dissent from Church doctrines regarding life-sustaining treatment.
However, RS’s family, including his mother, sisters and niece, strongly disagreed and underscored that RS was a devout Catholic and pro-life, opposed to abortion (“even for an unborn child likely to be medically compromised,” as Mr Justice Cohen noted in his judgement), euthanasia and even the court-ordered removal of life-support to the infant Alfie Evans.
The judge, convinced that dying was in RS’s “best interests,” decided in favor of RS’s wife and the hospital, believing that the woman knew her husband’s wishes better than his birth family did. As a result of his December 15 decision, nutrition and hydration were withdrawn from RS for the first of three times. With the help of Britain’s Christian Legal Centre and Poland’s Ordo luris Institute for Legal Culture, his birth family has fought the judgement in the British courts and made applications to the European Court of Human Rights, all of which have failed. At the family’s behest, and during growing interest and concern amongst the Polish population, Polish consular officials, and then the Polish Government itself, have become increasingly involved in the case.
Mr Justice Cohen’s belief that dying was in a disabled Polish Catholic’s “best interests” has, therefore, sparked a diplomatic incident.
For more LifeSiteNews coverage of the RS case, please click here.
The Christian Legal Centre has spent over £70,000 in fighting for RS’s life. To support the battle, please donate to LifeSiteNews’ fundraising campaign on their behalf here.