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Right to life case goes to Europe - Leslie Burke lodges appeal at ECtHR

Right to receive artificial nutrition



Leslie Burke, 46, who suffers from a rare and progressive neurological condition will today take his case to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR).

Leslie is fighting for the right to receive artificial nutrition and hydration once he is unable to voice his wishes.

I am doing this because I feel that I have been left with no alternative. I am not seeking to have my life prolonged unnecessarily by invasive medical procedures “ I would just like to have the opportunity to receive artificial nutrition and hydration (ANH) up until the very end, said Leslie.

Leslie has previously challenged the General Medical Councils (GMC) guidelines on when life sustaining treatment should be withdrawn in the High Court and in the Court of Appeal.

Healthcare law expert

His solicitor, Muiris Lyons, partner and healthcare law expert at Irwin Mitchell incorporating Alexander Harris will today lodge an application on Leslie's behalf with the Court in Strasbourg.

Leslie is determined to take his case to Strasbourg to ask the European Court of Human Rights to rule that his human rights are breached by the current GMC guidance, said Muiris.

Leslie is concerned that after assessing his condition following a significant deterioration, doctors may decide that his condition is so severe and the prognosis so poor that even though death is not imminent, providing artificial nutrition or hydration may cause suffering, or be too burdensome in relation to the possible benefits. They may then decide to discontinue this life-sustaining treatment.

This would be contrary to his wishes - which he fears may be ignored or overruled because he is considered to lack the capacity to decide for himself.

This is his ultimate nightmare scenario “ to have the decision as to when such treatment is withdrawn taken out of his hands and to potentially suffer a long, slow and painful death while fully or at least partially conscious of what is happening to him.