Mother seeks end of daughter’s treatment

family life

A mother is seeking Court permission for doctors to withdraw life-sustaining treatment from her adult daughter.

She claims that her daughter has no awareness of her surroundings as a result of Huntington’s Disease. This is an inherited condition which damages the nerve cells in the brain and gets worse over time. It can affect someone’s movement, thought processes and behaviour.

The woman in her 50s has suffered from this disease for more than 20 years and all evidence shows that she is now approaching the end of her life, her mother insisted. Her family and doctors all agree that measures to keep her alive should be stopped and she should be allowed to die.

However in order to stop treatment, the Court of Protection must first give permission. This rules on cases involving people who lack the mental capacity to make decisions for themselves as a result of illness, injury or disability.

In a preliminary hearing this week, Mr Justice Peter Jackson declared that the woman must not be identified by the media. He also allowed the woman’s mother to instruct a legal team on her daughter’s behalf. The full hearing is expected to begin on 22 June.

Last year, the Court of Protection heard the case of another Huntington’s sufferer. The man in question was a long-time Manchester United fan whose condition meant he had to be given food through a feeding tube. However the man removed the tube around 120 times and eventually the Court ruled that replacing it would be futile, even if it meant he died as a result.

Photo by oddmenout via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence.

Stowe Family Law Web Team

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