Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust v TH [2014] EWCOP 4, [2014] MHLO 37

"On the 14th May 2014 I granted declarations in respect of TH, a 52 year old man presently in a minimally conscious state at what has been described as the lower end of the spectrum of that condition (i.e. a very profound disorder of consciousness). There is no doubt TH lacks capacity to litigate in these proceedings and also lacks the capacity to give or withhold consent to his medical treatment. ... In relation to withdrawal of nutrition and hydration I am persuaded that the correct course is to adjourn this issue to provide for a structured clinical assessment to evaluate whether there is evidence that TH's primary neurological pathways are sufficiently intact to permit any evidence of awareness to be detected and fully to assess, over a set period of time, TH's general awareness, responsiveness and capacity to experience pain. The National Clinical Guidelines have been drawn to my attention in some detail and Professor Barnes has highlighted the benefits of a standard assessment tool, for example the Sensory Modality Assessment and Rehabilitation Technique (SMART) and the Wessex Head Injury Matrix (WHIM)."

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