Judge rules that woman in minimally aware state should not be allowed to die

BMJ 2011; 343 doi: (Published 29 September 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d6300
  1. Clare Dyer
  1. 1BMJ

A severely brain damaged woman in a minimally aware state should not have artificial feeding and hydration withdrawn to allow her to die, a high court judge has ruled.

Mr Justice Baker, at the Court of Protection in London, decided that the 52 year old woman had “some positive experiences” that could be extended, and rejected arguments by her family that feeding should be discontinued.

In a series of cases dating back to 1993, the court has allowed artificial feeding, which constitutes a form of treatment, to be withdrawn from patients in a persistent vegetative state (PVS). The latest case, which the judge described as “unique,” is thought to …

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