Mandela doesn’t have living will

2013-07-04 20:24
(Picture: AFP)

(Picture: AFP)

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Johannesburg - The decision on how long Nelson Mandela will remain on life support has been left to his family, since the ailing former president does not have a living will, according to media reports.

The Mail & Guardian revealed that Mandela’s latest will did not include a clause preventing him to be put on life support or how long he can be kept alive in vegetative state.

Reports on Thursday revealed that Madiba is in a "permanent vegetative state" according to his doctors, who have advised that the machines keeping him alive should be switched off.

Mandela has been receiving treatment at Medi-Clinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria since 8 June.

AFP reported that it obtained court documents containing the claim by Mandela’s family, echoing similar earlier reports.

"He is in a permanent vegetative state and is assisted in breathing by a life support machine," said a legal filing related to a family dispute over reburying the remains of three of Mandela's children.

"The Mandela family have been advised by the medical practitioners that his life support machine should be switched off.

The "Certificate of Urgency" document was obtained from a lawyer representing Mandela family members, who had successfully sought a court order to return the disputed children's remains to the Madiba’s childhood home, after a grandson had them moved to his own village.

The document was presented to the Eastern Cape High Court on 26 June as President Jacob Zuma reported that Mandela's health had faltered and cancelled a trip to Mozambique.

The next day Zuma said that Mandela's condition had "improved during the course of the night".

"He is much better today than he was when I saw him last night. The medical team continues to do a sterling job," Zuma said in a statement dated 27 June.

Since then the government has said Mandela's condition remains "critical but stable", but has provided few details, citing patient confidentiality.

Speaking at the launch of the Nelson Mandela Sport & Culture Day 2013 on Thursday, Graça Machel, said: “Madiba is sometimes uncomfortable. Sometimes he is in pain. But he is fine."

Lawyers for Mandela's relatives, family members themselves and government officials were not immediately available for comment.

Read more on:    nelson mandela  |  jacob zuma
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