The Court of Protection (Mr Justice Baker) is currently considering an application made by her relatives for a minimally conscious patient to be allowed to die through the withdrawal of artificial nutrition and hydration.

Mr Justice Baker has described the case as “unique” as the patient is not in a persistent vegetative state, although she has suffered very profound brain damage and, according to the family, has very little awareness. The family’s view is that her quality of life is unacceptable and not something which the patient would want continued if she were able to communicate.

The application is being opposed by the Official Solicitor, appointed to represent the patient, and evidence from a nurse working in the care home where the patient lives has suggested that the patient has some awareness and, on occasion, does respond to the stimulus of her surroundings.  

The case continues – judgment is awaited.