British Judge Rules Brain-Damaged Woman Should Not Be Allowed to Die

Posted September 28th, 2011 at 3:35 pm (UTC-5)
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In a landmark case, a British judge has ruled that a brain-damaged woman should not be allowed to die by removing her life-support system.

High Court Judge Scott Baker issued the ruling Wednesday saying the case was unique and raised “very important issues of principle” on the preservation of life.

The 52-year-old woman suffered severe brain damage more than eight years ago and is on the edge of awareness known as a minimally conscious state, just one step above a persistent vegetative state. She is unable to care for herself or communicate and is in a special care home in Northern England.

Her family requested that she be removed from artificial feeding and hydration, arguing that she was in pain and would not want to live in her current condition.

The court-appointed lawyer opposed the family's request, saying the patient's condition was otherwise stable. The local health authority responsible for her care also opposed the application, saying the woman's life was “not without positive elements”.