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Friday, 22 March, 2002, 11:38 GMT
Judge's praise for Miss B
High court graphic
The ruling will affect future right-to-die arguments
High Court judge Elizabeth Butler Sloss has said the ruling that Miss B has the right to have her ventilator switched off means she can end her life peacefully and with dignity.

In her historic judgement, Dame Elizabeth said she had been impressed by "the great courage, strength of will and determination" the patient had shown.

Dame Elizabeth Butler-Sloss
Dame Elizabeth questioned the woman closely
"She is clearly a splendid person and it is tragic that someone of her ability has been struck down so cruelly," the judge said.

"I hope she will forgive me for saying...that if she did reconsider her decision, she would have a lot to offer the community at large."

Dame Elizabeth, in her judgement, said: "Underlying this important issue is the tragic story of an able and talented woman of 43 who has suffered a devastating illness which has caused her to become tetraplegic and whose expressed wish is not be kept artificially alive by the use of a ventilator."

'Unlawful trespass'

The judge ruled that the woman had the necessary mental capacity to ask for the equipment to be switched off.

"Administration of ventilation by artificial means against the claimant's wishes since 8 August, 2001, has been an unlawful trespass," Dame Elizabeth said in her ruling.

She awarded Miss B a nominal 100 damages for the "unlawful trespass."

The judge also ordered that the woman, her doctors, and the hospital involved, could not be named.

The BBC's Daniel Sandford
"This case has been unique in many ways"
Motor Neurone Disease sufferer, Alison Davis:
"I wanted to die for a period of over 10 years"
Miss B's solicitor Richard Stein
"We are very optimistic"
See also:

23 Jan 02 | Health
Right-to-die case fast-tracked
04 Oct 01 | Health
Woman granted right to die
05 Oct 00 | Health
Court hears 'right to die' cases
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