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Court confirms right to palliative treatment for mental distress

BMJ 1997; 315 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.315.7117.1177b (Published 08 November 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;315:1177
  1. Clare Dye
  1. legal correspondent, BMJ

    The right of doctors to give terminally ill patients palliative treatment to relieve mental distress as well as physical pain and suffering was confirmed in a test case settled in the High Court in London last week.

    Annie Lindsell, who has motor neurone disease, sought a court declaration that her GP, Dr Simon Holmes, could administer large enough doses of diamorphine to render her unconscious when her ability to swallow food became affected. Having seen friends die of the disease, she did not want to go through the final stages choking on her food and unable to speak. She has …

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