Sadness and prayers as Mr RS dies

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Call for those requiring Clinically Assisted Nutrition and Hydration to be treated with proper human dignity

A spokesperson for the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales has commented on the news that Mr RS, a patient at the Derriford Hospital in Plymouth, has sadly died.

Mr RS, originally from Poland, suffered a heart attack and required Clinically Assisted Nutrition and Hydration. This was withdrawn after a court ruling.

“We are deeply saddened by the news of the death of Mr RS and offer sincere condolences to all of his family both here and in Poland.

“We wish to assure them of our prayers for the repose of Mr RS’s soul, and in doing so we will be joined by the Catholic community here, whose hearts have been touched by this tragic case.

“We pray that what happened here will not be repeated in the future, and hope that all those requiring Clinically Assisted Nutrition and Hydration (CANH) will be treated with proper human dignity.

“May he rest in peace.”

Bishop offers support

Mr RS was in the care of the University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust. Local bishop the Right Reverend Mark O’Toole, Bishop of Plymouth, said:

“I am deeply saddened to hear of the death of Mr RS. My thoughts and prayers are with his wife, children, mother, sisters, and niece and with all those who loved and cared for him. 

“Local clergy will continue to offer pastoral support to the family living in Plymouth, as they have done throughout his time in hospital.” 

Assisted nutrition and hydration

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. This care must be given whenever possible unless it is medically indicated as being overly burdensome or failing to attain its purpose.