Mr Justice Baker, who heard legal argument during a Court of Protection hearing in London in July, said the case was unique and raised “very important issues of principle”. [Patient] M had “some positive experiences”, he said, and there was a “reasonable prospect” that those experiences could be extended.
Mr Justice Baker said: “The factor which does carry substantial weight, in my judgment, is the preservation of life. Although not an absolute rule, the law regards the preservation of life as a fundamental principle.”
… a partner with the law firm Irwin Mitchell, said: “This is a very important judgment. The law has been clarified and, going forward, in all such cases of patients who are in a Minimally Conscious State, the High Court does now have the power to decide on whether it is in that patient’s best interests for treatment to continue, or whether the patient should be allowed to die naturally, with dignity.”
Areas to think about:
- How does this patient’s situation differ from someone in a Persistent Vegetative State?
- Do you agree with the ruling?
- What are some of the ethical issues surrounding the case?