Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Saturday 28 November |
Saint of the Day: Pope St. Gregory III
home iconNews
line break icon

British court ruling eases way to withdraw basic care for vegetative state patients

PATIENT IN HOSPITAL BED

Sfam_Photo | Shutterstock

John Burger - published on 07/30/18

Disability rights groups charge ruling will allow people to be "starved to death"

The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom has ruled that legal permission will no longer be required to end care for patients in a long-term permanent vegetative state.

That means it will be easier to withdraw food and liquid to allow such patients to die in the UK, the BBC reported.

When families and doctors are in agreement, medical staff will be able to remove feeding tubes without applying to the Court of Protection, the news service said.

The Supreme Court’s Lady Black ruled there was no violation under the Human Rights Convention.

But Care Not Killing, an umbrella group of human rights and disability rights organizations, health care and palliative care groups, and faith-based organizations, charged that the Supreme Court has removed an important safeguard from brain-damaged patients.

“The ruling will affect up to 24,000 patients with permanent vegetative state (PVS) and minimally conscious state (MCS), meaning they can now be effectively starved and dehydrated to death if the medical staff and relatives agree that this is in their ‘best interests,'” Care Not Killing said in a statement. “People with PVS (awake but not aware) and MCS (awake but only intermittently or partially aware) can breathe without ventilators, but need to have food and fluids by tube (clinically assisted nutrition and hydration or CANH). These patients are not imminently dying and with good care can live for many years. Some may even regain awareness. But if CANH is withdrawn, then they will die from dehydration and starvation within two or three weeks.”

Dr. Peter Saunders, Campaign Director of Care Not Killing, argued that the Court of Protection did not prevent clinically assisted nutrition and hydration or CANH being removed. “Indeed, under the old rules, introduced after the Tony Bland case in 1993, there have been over 100 such cases, but it did ensure independent scrutiny of any application,” Saunders said in a statement. “It did this because it recognized the emotional and financial pressure that families and clinicians can fall under.”

Tags:
Medicine
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in eight languages: English, French, Arabic, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
LUXOR FILM FESTIVAL
Zoe Romanowsky
20-year-old filmmaker wins award for powerful...
Eric Clapton, Luciano Pavarotti, East London Gospel Choir
J-P Mauro
Hear Clapton and Pavarotti sing a prayer to t...
FIRST CENTURY HOUSE AT THE SISTERS OF NAZARETH SITE
John Burger
British archaeologist confident he has found ...
PRAY
Cerith Gardiner
12 Things we can be grateful for this Thanksg...
VATICAN POPE GOOD FRIDAY COLOSSEUM
Kathleen N. Hattrup
Learn to pray with the early Church and to di...
PADRE PIO
Philip Kosloski
Padre Pio's favorite prayer of petition
EARTHQUAKE
Bret Thoman, OFS
Two earthquakes couldn't stop these Italian n...
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.