A Local Health Board v J [2012] MHLO 158 (COP)

(1) The court made the following declaration and orders as sought by the Health Board: (a) J lacked capacity to make decisions regarding her medical treatment including decisions regarding the withdrawal of ANH and other life-sustaining treatment; (b) J was in a permanent vegetative state and had no prospect of recovery; (c) there were no further investigations/treatment which should be undertaken; (d) it was in J's best interests for ANH to be withheld; (e) ANH might be withdrawn lawfully by the applicant, or responsible attending medical practitioners or nursing staff; and (f) it was in her best interests to receive such treatment and nursing care as was appropriate to ensure that she retained the greatest dignity until her life came to an end. (2) In relation to the second declaration, the court considered evidence that J had said 'die' several times, and concluded that this had been (misinterpreted) 'vocalisation' (a moan or groan often repeated, and often seen in PVS) rather than 'verbalisation' (which would be consistent with a minimally-conscious state). [Summary based on All ER (D) report of ex tempore judgment.]


Date: 13/11/12 (ex tempore)

Before: Roderic Wood J


[2012] All ER (D) 146 (Nov)

External link

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All ER (D) report available on LexisLibrary

John Aston, 'Brain damaged woman allowed to "die with dignity", judge rules' (Independent, 13/11/12).† This article sets out some further details of the evidence which do not appear in the All ER (D) report of the ex tempore judgment.

Garden Court Chambers, "2012 12 Incapacity" (1/1/13)† This newsletter includes a summary of this case.