Give Monty his right to his own destiny
Ian Montgomery, my husband, was taken into hospital on 27th February on Koh Samui island in Thailand with a suspected stroke, he was incoherent on arrival. They did a CT scan and took bloods and it was confirmed he had septicaemia. The hospital needed to do an MRI scan but as my husband was agitated they couldn’t do a complete scan. I was advised he needed to go to Bangkok so they could perform the MRI under sedation as the Koh Samui hospital did not have the facilities. In the meantime, I’m still waiting for the insurance to kick in so have paid for the hospital and air ambulance and deposit for Bangkok hospital from my own funds and with some help from my husbands work. My husband was sedated and ventilated for the transfer. On arrival at Bangkok hospital he was kept sedated for the MRI which was scheduled for two days later. Results of MRI and further blood tests confirmed my husband had meningitis and also abscess wrapped round his spinal cord. He was operated on that afternoon to drain the abscess and have two vertebrae removed from his spine to relieve the spinal cord pressure. After the op, sedation was removed and we then discovered he had no movement from the shoulders down. Throughout the following week, the hospital tried to keep my husband stable and there were discussions around a tracheostomy being fitted before trying to wean off the ventilator. On Saturday 11th, the trachy was supposed to be fitted and it wasn’t. By this time we were both very agitated and just needed to get home. We found the hospital were lacking compassion and were very much money focused. The frustration became too much so I felt I had no choice but to involve the British embassy. They contacted the hospital and started the ball rolling to get the aviation doctor to assess my husband for flying. The hospital tried to wean my husband off the ventilator on Sunday 12th March, they literally switched the machine off and removed the outer tube at 6am then walked out the room. I walked in at 7.15 to see sheer fear on his face and told the nurse to switch the ventilator back on. From that point onwards, my husband did not want further treatment in this hospital, he just wanted to get home. Transfer home finally happened on Friday 17th March. The journey home was horrendous, I asked the medical team to keep my husband sedated but that didn’t happen, my husband went into cardiac arrest when we landed in Germany for refuelling. CPR was performed and he was revived. He was then sedated. After landing at Luton airport, he was transferred to Lister hospital in Stevenage. The following day he went into cardiac arrest again. For the following week it was a process of keeping him stable. As a family we would get some updates but nothing that really told us anything. I asked the ICU doctor that first week if they were going to do another MRI scan. He said if they were to do one now, it may give too early a prognosis whereas if they waited a few weeks, the prognosis may be different. On Tuesday 28th March it was decided that another MRI would be needed. I asked the ICU doctor that afternoon, why now? Bearing in mind what the previous doctor had said. This doctor was very straight and to the point, he told myself and my husband that my husband had two options. Option1, it was highly unlikely my husband would ever regain any movement at all and that he would always be reliant on the ventilator and that he could continue with active care and would eventually be moved to Stoke Mandeville for rehab. Or option2, he could have his life support switched off. My husband had already made it clear to the doctors and nurses that he wanted to die, he did not want active treatment and rehab. Another doctor also promised my husband they would keep him pain free once the ventilator was switched off and they would give him as much sedation and pain relief as he needed until he passed. As a family, we respect and have accepted his decision but asked him if he would just have another MRI scan and be a part of a teams meeting with Stoke Mandeville so we had all the information and he could make an informed decision based on that information. This was all due to happen by Friday. He said he would but we all knew he was just doing it for us. We haven’t received a detailed analysis of the MRI but we know the spinal cord is still inflamed and the abscess has filled again. During the teams meeting with Stoke Mandeville, we know that it could take up to 3 months before being able to breathe without a ventilator. We know it could take a year before any or if movement of his upper limbs returned. My husband did not want any of this, he just wants his ventilator switched off. We had a chat with the ICU doctor after this meeting and confirmed my husbands wish to have the ventilator switched off. As the hospital had to go through a process and as it was Friday afternoon, the chances were, nothing will happen until Monday. We asked if he could be sedated from that point in as we didn’t want him to get distressed having to wait for the hospital to do a tick box exercise. It was agreed with the doctor that this could happen. We all said our goodbyes to my husband as we were not sure he would ever be lucid enough to hear us again. We are now being told the doctors were wrong, they cannot turn off his ventilator, they cannot keep him under sedation, this would be assisted suicide and as my husband is now a quadriplegic, he cannot switch it off himself. As a family we are now so distressed, angry, upset, devastated, I cannot put it into words how we feel. I need help to get 100,000 signatures for this to be discussed in parliament to give my husband what he was promised by the doctors last week. My husband is in a living hell, please can you help us by signing this petition to give my husband the right to have active treatment withdrawn! My husband has displayed full mental capacity to doctors and nurses throughout and has repeatedly asked for active treatment to be withdrawn!
Julie Montgomery Contact the author of the petition