Intended for healthcare professionals


Woman in minimally conscious state should be allowed to die, says judge after hearing evidence from family

BMJ 2017; 359 doi: (Published 07 November 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;359:j5138
  1. Clare Dyer
  1. The BMJ

A 72 year old woman in a minimally conscious state who was kept alive by artificial feeding would have found her situation “not only intolerable but humiliating” and it would be in her best interests to withdraw feeding, a High Court judge has said.1

“Mrs P” was being fed through a nasogastric tube, which she had pulled out around 50 times, after suffering a subarachnoid haemorrhage following a fall a year ago. Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust applied to the Court of Protection for a ruling that continuing the feeding was in her best interests, although her daughter, “Q,” opposed it.

The official solicitor, representing Mrs P, originally took a neutral stance. But by the end of the hearing, after several family members had given evidence, he accepted …

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