More MS news articles for Aug 2001

Patient takes 'dying wish' to court

Saturday, 4 August, 2001, 12:03 GMT 13:03 UK

Friends of a terminally-ill man from Carmarthenshire in west Wales, are backing his struggle to be given the right to die at home.

Jason Powell, 30, who has multiple sclerosis, has been told by doctors he may not survive beyond Christmas.

For the past four years he has lived in a specially-adapted flat and is adamant he wants to spend the short time left to him at home among family and friends, and not in a hospital bed or a nursing home.

In just over a week he will go to the High Court to fight a decision by Dyfed Powys Health Authority who has agreed to fund round-the-clock care in a nursing home, but not in his flat.

Mr Powell - who claims the health authority is breaching his fundamental human rights - has been in the West Wales General Hospital since getting pneumonia at Christmas and even though it has now cleared, he still needs 24-hour care.

There is no need for him to remain in hospital and Mr Powell has said it his wish to die at home.

"I'm just fed up, I wish they'd leave me to go home," he said. "It's not much to ask."

One of his wishes is to watch his beloved Whitland rugby team - who have supported him since he developed MS when he was 17 - play another match.

"He's absolutely fantastic and I think he should be given the right to have what he wants," said friend Susan Pearce.

At the High Court last month, Jenni Richards, for Mr Powell, told Justice Silber: "He is a very determined young man who is terrified at the prospect of going to a nursing home.

"He won't go into a nursing home and cannot be forced to do so. Therefore the reality is that he will live out his last months in a hospital bed."

Mr Powell is working closely with solicitor Catrina Salter who last month was granted permission to launch a High Court battle against health authority.

"When I phoned the ward with the news from the train coming back from London, I asked the staff how he felt and the description they gave me was ecstatic," she said.

"For a dying to man to feel ecstatic, I don't think you can ask for much more really."