WESTMINSTER, England, January 20, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — Two leading bishops have written to the U.K.’s Minister of Health to protest the removal of life-sustaining care to a Polish Catholic in an English hospital.
Auxiliary Bishop John Sherrington of Westminster and Bishop Mark O’Toole of Plymouth have written to Minister of Health Matt Hancock on behalf of Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster and most senior member of the Catholic Church in Britain. They conveyed the information that the Cardinal wants RS, as the Polish man is known to the public, to be transferred to Poland to receive proper care.
In their letter the bishops stated that the “Catholic Church continues to oppose the definition of assisted nutrition and hydration as medical treatment which has now become the basis of medical and legal decisions to withdraw assisted nutrition and hydration from patients.”
“Providing food and water to very sick patients, even by assisted means, is a basic level of care,” they continued.
“This care must be given whenever possible unless it is medically indicated as being overly burdensome or failing to attain its purpose. The recent court cases concerning patient Mr RS in the care of the University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust has shown the level of controversy around this definition as judges have been called to make decisions in the ‘best interests’ of the patient.”
The bishops noted that RS “had not refused food and fluids nor had he expressed any view about not wanting food and fluids in these circumstances and that there was no evidence that he viewed assisted nutrition and hydration as medical treatment.”
In fact, as the bishops did not mention, no member of RS’s family has contested that, before he sustained severe brain damage after a heart attack, RS was a devout, Mass-attending Catholic who was strongly pro-life, opposed to both abortion and euthanasia.
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The bishops informed the Health Minister of a letter sent by Poland’s most senior churchman, Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki, president of the Bishops’ Conference of Poland, to Cardinal Nichols asking for his intervention in the case.
“On his behalf, we write to express our opposition to this definition of medical treatment and to convey the offer of the Polish authorities to assist in the transfer of Mr RS to Poland for his future care,” they wrote.
“We accept the legal process concerning Mr RS has been completed. However, we pray for agreement within the family about the treatment and care to be provided and express the desire of the Archbishop that Mr RS be transferred and cared for in Poland.”
To read LifeSiteNews’ detailed and up-to-date coverage of the RS case, please click on this link.
Readers may also donate and help the legal battle to keep RS alive at LifeSiteNews’ LifeFunder.