Judge Rules Doctors Can Starve Disabled Patients Without Court Order

Person Disabilities1

(SPUC) – A judge has ruled that Court permission will not be needed to remove food and fluids from severely brain damaged patients, a move which has caused concern among opponents of euthanasia.

Unlike other forms of medical care, the decision to withdraw food and fluids from patients in a “permanent vegetative state” (the term “unresponsive wakefulness syndrome” is now generally preferred) has until now been referred to the Court of Protection, even if doctors and relatives are in agreement.

Now, the decision by Mr Justice Jackson means those cases will no longer have to come to court. He made his ruling in a case concerning a 50-year-old woman who suffered from a degenerative illness for 14 years. The patient, known in court as M, had Huntington’s disease and was bed-ridden in hospital and fed by a tube. The Court heard that she had shown no sign of awareness for 18 months. CONTINUE