Vegetative State – The Untold Story

New Law Journal 152:1272 (2002)
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Airedale NHS Trust v Bland establishes three principles among which is the controversial idea that people in a PVS, though not dying, have no best interests and no meaningful life. Accordingly, it is argued, they may have their food and fluids, whether delivered by tube or manually, removed, with the result that they die. Laing challenges this view arguing that not only is this bad medical science, it is unjustly discriminatory and at odds with our duties to the severely disabled. Laing highlights research by Keith Andrews et al and points out that Andrew Devine, in the same Hillsborough disaster, woke up some years after Tony Bland was decided.(Post script) Laing argues elsewhere that after the Mental Capacity Act 2005 the case has become a dangerous springboard for new third parties' to require the removal of food and fluids from the vulnerable incapacitated.



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Jacqueline A. Laing
Oxford University (DPhil)

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