Sister of Polish man being starved to death in an English hospital pleads for his repatriation
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WARSAW, Poland, January 25, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — As a brain-damaged Polish Catholic lies dying of starvation and dehydration in an English hospital, one of his sisters has made another plea to the Polish government.
“When will the Polish state take away its diplomat?” she asked Polish authorities over Twitter just over two hours ago.
She added that the family will, if it has to, return to the European Court of Human Rights.
“If you don’t want to do that, we ask you [to invoke] Article 33 in Strasbourg. You cannot wait any longer!” she stated.
The names of, and other identifying information about, the Polish patient, his wife, children, birth family, doctors and hospital are under a publication ban.
Article 33 in the European Convention on Human Rights stipulates that one state can sue another in the European Court of Human Rights to make sure the second is not violating the rights of a citizen of the first.
It reads: “Inter-State Cases: Any High Contracting Party may refer to the Court any alleged breach of the provisions of the Convention and the Protocols thereto by another High Contracting Party.”
Although the United Kingdom has left the European Union, the country is still a High Contracting Party in the Council of Europe, as is Poland, and both are signatories of the ECHR. Article 2 of the ECHR protects the right to life, and Article 3 prohibits torture and “inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”
The Polish patient, known to the English-speaking world only as “P” or “RS” thanks to a court order protecting his identity, has been without nourishment and without more hydration than is needed to administer the analgesics and sedatives used in his “palliative care.”
Shortly after her plea to the Polish Government, RS’s sister reported on Twitter that his health is deteriorating.
“Unfortunately, my brother’s condition is getting worse,” she wrote.
“Here’s the information we got from the hospital: RS was assessed today by a palliative care team. His condition has worsened since yesterday’s examination. He has increasingly frequent breaks in breathing. He seems to be comfortable and shows no increase in myoclonic seizures. He is still receiving subcutaneous infusions of fluid (saline) and midazolam as before. We have begun to administer drugs to help control mild discharge from his air passages.”
Yesterday LifeSiteNews learned that the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MSZ) had stalled in its efforts to repatriate RS, to whom it said it had given diplomatic status so as to remove him from the jurisdiction of the British courts. RS’s birth family, who have been fighting, with some temporary success, to have nutrition and hydration returned to him, have mixed reviews of the different ministries of the Polish Government who have taken an interest in the case. Although publicly grateful to Poland’s Ministry of Justice, the family does not understand why the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has not given them evidence of RS’s diplomatic status.
“The Ministry of Justice has acted and wants to act in this matter, but the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is being obstructive,” one of RS’s two sisters told Poland’s Polonia Christiana magazine.
“We don’t understand why the MSZ is waiting in this matter,” she continued.
“Our English lawyers say that [the British Government’s] accreditation is not necessary. It is enough to tell them that my brother is a diplomat.”
On November 6, RS suffered a heart attack at his home in the south-west of England and fell into a coma. On December 15, 2020, Mr Justice Cohen of the Court of Protection decided that it was in RS’s “best interests” to cease receiving life-sustaining care. RS’s hospital doctors believe that he is now in a vegetative state. Justice Cohen left the final decision to the hospital treating RS and to RS’s wife “to decide between themselves whether hydration is to be withdrawn.”
By December 23, RS was able to breathe without clinical assistance.
RS’s wife has supported the University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust in its application to remove RS’s hydration and nutrition and opposed her in-laws' attempts to challenge Justice Cohen’s decision. Members of RS’s birth family who surreptitiously filmed RS during a Christmas Day farewell visit believe that he is in a minimally conscious state and that he reacted to their presence.
The video footage, whose creation and publication has been deplored by Justice Cohen, has been published widely in Poland, where many people believe that RS recognized his relations and that the hospital authorities in the U.K. want to harvest his organs. The case has become a cause celebre and a matter of bitter dispute among politicians in RS’s native country.
LifeSiteNews has contacted the UK's Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office to establish whether or not Poland has informed them of RS’s diplomatic status, but the FCDO would not comment on the matter. LifeSiteNews then wrote to Deputy Minister Paweł Jablonski of the MSZ, but has not yet received an answer.
For more coverage of the RS case, please click here.
Britain’s Christian Legal Centre, which has been supporting RS’s birth family in their fight for his life, has incurred over £70,000 in expenses while fighting the case. To donate to the cause, please click here.