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Thursday, 4 October, 2001, 17:42 GMT 18:42 UK
Woman granted right to die
High Court
The High Court ruled that the woman be allowed to die
A solicitor who suffered brain-damage while recovering from a minor operation has been granted the right-to-die by the High Court.

Doctors have been given permission to stop feeding and hydrating the 45-year-old, who has been in a "persistent vegetative state" since the operation in September 2000.

The woman had choked on her own vomit following the minor operation - the court was told that her prospects of recovery were "effectively nil".

She is currently being looked after at a specialist hospital in London, where she is fed through tubes in her stomach.

She would want to die in peace and dignity and not to persist in the twilight limbo in which she exists at the moment

Dame Elizabeth Butler-Sloss, Family Division President, High Court
A medical expert caring for the woman told the court: "It is my prognosis that it is highly unlikely for someone with this severity of brain damage to recover.

"I anticipate that the patient will remain in this state for the rest of her life."

The doctor said that the withdrawal of feeding and hydration was supported by her immediate family.

Death after 12 days

"They were very searching in their questions and I am satisfied that they understand all the implications."

Caroline Harry-Thomas, counsel for the Official Solicitor, acting on behalf of the woman, said: "Tragically this is a case where there is no clinical benefit in continuing nutrition and hydration."

Family Division President Dame Elizabeth Butler-Sloss said it was "an extremely sad case".

"She would want to die in peace and dignity and not to persist in the twilight limbo in which she exists at the moment.

"She expressed strong views during her life that if she was to be found in this situation she should not be kept alive."

The woman, who cannot be named, is expected to die within 12 days of life support being withdrawn.

The judge also ruled that no hospital or staff member connected with the care of the woman should be identified.

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