THURSDAY JULY 19 2001
BY FRANCES GIBB LEGAL EDITOR
A TERMINALLY-ILL man won permission yesterday to begin an urgent legal battle under the Human Rights Act to be allowed to die at home.
Lawyers for Jason Powell, who has multiple sclerosis and pneumonia and has been told that he has only a few months to live, are challenging Dyfed Powys Health Authority’s “irrational and unlawful” refusal to fund the NHS care he needs to return home.
Mr Powell, 33, is currently an in-patient at West Wales General Hospital, Glangwilli, Camarthen.
Mr Justice Silber, sitting in London, yesterday gave him permission to seek judicial review of the health authority’s decision to fund only a place in a nursing home.
Jenni Richards, for Mr Powell, told the judge: “He is a determined young man who is terrified at the prospect of going to a nursing home and cannot be forced to do so. The reality is that he will live out his last months in a hospital bed.”
Ms Richards said the health authority had recently said it was willing to pay only an amount to meet the cost of a nursing home placement, and that would not be enough to pay for the 24-hour care Mr Powell needs at his flat at Whitland, Camarthen.
She told the judge that Mr Powell had lived with his condition since he was 17, but because of his determination had managed to live in his own adapted accommodation for the past few years.
It was “inappropriate and unnecessary” for him to remain in hospital and the refusal to fund a home-care package breached his rights under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which guarantees respect for an individual’s right to a private and family life.
The judge ruled there was “an arguable case” that should go to a full hearing as a matter of urgency, likely to be heard in August. He said: “I have total sympathy for your client.”
Mr Powell’s mother, Eileen Olive,
55, of Whitland, said she was overjoyed at the news: “All I want is for
my son’s last wish to be carried out.”
Copyright 2001 Times Newspapers Ltd