Application for permission to withdraw life sustaining treatment, opposed by the family
X is a 27 year old who suffered catastrophic injuries to his brain and brainstem, when the car he was travelling in hit a tree. The medical opinion is that he is now in a persistent vegetative state and he is kept alive by mechanical ventilation, artificial nutrition and hydration and supportive round the clock nursing care. The Trust thinks there is no prospect of recovery and the OS, acting for X, supports the application. It was opposed by his family who, among other things, identified movement of X's head in support of that opposition.
Theis J, after reviewing the medical evidence, finds that 'it points in one direction' and explains at  that the head movements are 'spontaneous and reflexive movement which is compatible with a vegetative state, rather than any level of consciousness by X, and accords with the RCP guidelines.' In her judgment there was no benefit to X in continuing the treatment, due to his lack of awareness and the bleak medical prognosis so his best interests are met by its withdrawal.
Read the judgment on Bailii
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