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    Polish diplomacy is fighting for his life. A helicopter is already waiting for the Pole in a coma

    We are taking all non-standard measures to help our citizen in the UK, said government spokesman Piotr Müller on Friday. At the same time, he pointed out that in some aspects diplomacy prefers silence. It’s about a man in a coma. A helicopter is already waiting for the Pole to return to the country.

    The case is R.S., a middle-aged man (his identity cannot be published for family reasons) who has lived in England for several years and who suffered cardiac arrest for at least 45 minutes on November 6, 2020, resulting in severe and permanent brain damage, according to the hospital. As a result, Plymouth Hospital applied to the court for permission to disconnect the life support equipment, which the man’s wife and children, who live in England, agreed to. However, his mother and sister, who live in Poland, as well as his other sister and niece, who live in England, are against it. 

     

    As Deputy Minister of the Justice Marcin Warchoł said on Thursday evening, ‘a diplomatic passport for the Pole, who is in a coma in a hospital in Plymouth in the UK, is being prepared, it is a matter of hours’. He confirmed that a helicopter had already been waiting for the Pole to return to the country. 

     

    A government spokesman was asked about his case on Friday on Polish Radio’s Program One. ‘At the moment, due to the fact that diplomacy sometimes prefers silence in some aspects, I can say that all non-standard procedures are being implemented at the moment to help our citizen,’ he said.

     

    ‘The problem is that in the family of this gentleman itself there is ambiguity as far as the opinion on what to do is concerned, but here it is less important because this is about the health and life of this man, about the life of this man, so the opinion of the family in this regard is, of course, important, but even more important is to save the life of a man, because it is the most important value,’ stressed Müller. 

     

    R.S.’s wife believes the man would not want to be kept alive with his current condition, and the other part of the family argues that as a practising Catholic he supported the right to live from conception to natural death, so he would not want his life to end that way. 

     

    On Dec. 15, the Guardianship Court – a special court that deals exclusively with cases involving people who are incapacitated or unable to make decisions for themselves – ruled that the man’s wife knew better than his mother and sisters what his will would be. He also ruled that under the current circumstances, it was not in the man’s best interests to sustain his life and therefore it would be lawful to disconnect the life support machine and the man should be given palliative care so that he retains as much dignity and suffers as little as possible until his death.

     

    The life support equipment was disconnected for the fourth time last week. In the first three cases, it was rejoined – after two, five and three days – following a request for an appeal which was not accepted, following new evidence from the part of the family fighting for life support and following a complaint to the European Court of Human Rights which did not accept it. 

     

    Some part of the family, who is fighting for life support, believe that R.S.’s condition has improved noticeably since the court first ruled. She pointed out that once he was disconnected from the respiratory support equipment, he was breathing on his own and there was no need to reconnect it; later in the dispute, the only issue was whether or not to disconnect the tubes feeding him with food and water.

     

    She also presented as evidence a video of the man blinking his eyes while his family was present at the hospital, as well as the opinion of a neurologist expressing a different opinion about his chances of returning to a reasonably independent life. She also offered to transport the man to Poland, where he could be kept alive. However, the man’s wife does not agree with this. 

     

    The court also refused to allow R.S. to be transported to Poland, arguing that this would entail a high risk of death during transport, which would be more offensive to his dignity than disconnecting the apparatus.

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