In Re JS, the New South Wales Supreme Court made a declaration that the medical practitioners and staff of John Hunter Hospital would be acting lawfully in fulfilling a request made by a patient to cease life-sustaining treatment. 

JS was a 27 year old patient of the Hospital who had been a quadriplegic since the age of seven.  JS provided a signed request that he no longer wanted to receive life-sustaining treatment, including artificial ventilation.

The Hospital sought a declaration to the effect that:

  1. life-sustaining treatment and medical support measures, including ventilation, could be lawfully discontinued; and
  2. medical services provided to JS could be limited to services ancillary to the discontinuance of all life-sustaining treatment and medical support and palliative measures aimed at providing JS with comfort and relief of pain, anxiety or torment.

The Court allowed the first declaration, concluding that JS had the necessary capacity to make the decision and that JS’ decision in that regard was freely given and based on adequate information.  The Court declined to make the second declaration.

To view the case, click here.