Brain-damaged woman 'shouldn't be allowed to die'

by Sarah Ashcroft

A woman with severe brain damage has been told her artificial feeding and hydration should not be withdrawn in a landmark High Court ruling.

The 52-year-old woman, known only as M, is in a minimally conscious state and the court was told that she has had some "positive experiences" that could still be extended in the future.

Before the illness, M had informed her family that she would not want to be kept alive in such situations, but these statements were not legally binding.

This has led legal professionals in the case to highlight the importance of creating a living will, which is a legally binding document outlining a person's wishes should they become seriously ill.

Mr Justice Baker, who oversaw proceedings, said: "The factor which does carry substantial weight, in my judgement, is the preservation of life.

"Although not an absolute rule, the law regards the preservation of life as a fundamental principle."

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Published on: September 30, 2011

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