We shouldn’t have to guess

The Guardian reports:

A man in his 30s who is in the advanced stages of Huntington’s disease and repeatedly pulls out a feeding tube attached to his stomach should be allowed to die, a judge has ruled.

The man had removed the tube about 120 times, Mr Justice Hayden was told during the hearing at the court of protection in London. The man’s mother and an aunt told the judge they believed he “wants to go”.

A consultant neurologist said it would not be right – and futile – for medics to force the feeding tube on the man.

Hayden concluded that the tube should not be reinserted, even though this would hasten the man’s death.

How sad that they had to go to court and the man involved had to rip out the tube 120 times, for his wishes to be allowed.

The law should allow for people who have Huntington’s to give directives in advance that they don’t want to be treated, and/or that they wish to be assisted to die.

Huntington’s disease is a hereditary disorder of the central nervous system. The condition becomes progressively worse over time and can affect movement, cognition and behaviour. There is no cure and its progress cannot be reversed or slowed.

Symptoms of Huntington’s were first seen when the man was in his teens, the judge heard.

A nurse closely involved in the man’s care told the court the quality of his life had deteriorated rapidly in recent years. The man no longer got out of bed, had lost the ability to speak and could not eat normally.

It is an awful disease and you can lose both your body and your mind.

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