Medical Treatment: Decisions and the Law

13. Permanent Vegetative and Minimally Conscious States

Is an application to Court required? update to main text para 13.19, page 416

Sophia Roper & Christopher Johnston QC


In a fascinating speech, ‘A Matter of Life and Death’, given at Oxford on 11 October 2016,[1] Baker J addressed the courts’ current approach to whether or not to permit withdrawal of clinically assisted artificial nutrition and hydration from a patient in a prolonged disorder of consciousness.

Withdrawal of treatment in MCS: update to main text para 13.11, page 399

Sophia Roper & Christopher Johnston QC


Mr Briggs[1] was agreed to be in a minimally conscious state; he was clinically stable and not in need of any invasive treatment. His treating team believed that he should be moved to a rehabilitation centre, where he could be monitored and potentially progress to a higher level of consciousness. His family felt that he should be transferred to a hospice, no longer provided with CANH, and allowed to die as peacefully and painlessly as possible.

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