A RIGHT TO DIE
A recent decision by Mr Justice Hayden in the Court of Protection has given comfort to people with serious medical conditions. Mrs N lacked capacity and was profoundly impaired mentally and physically by multiple sclerosis. An application was made for artificial nutrition to be withdrawn which would inevitably end her life. In a ground breaking decision the Judge allowed this. He was, however, at pains to point out that a right to die does not exist in law. He said he had to balance the ethnical concept of the inviolability of life against an individual’s right to self-determination which require an intense scrutiny of an individual’s circumstances, views and attitudes. He felt in this case it was reasonable to withdrawn nutrition.
The reality however is that a decision like this is difficult and very expensive to maintain. Fortunately there is a simple solution as long as an individual has mental capacity. This is to appoint attorneys for health and welfare and specifically empower them to be able to give or refuse consent to life-sustaining treatment in the event that that person loses the ability to do so themselves.
If you want the comfort of knowing that people you trust will make decisions for you then you should make a lasting power of attorney for Health and Welfare. Please contact Trevor Price if you want to discuss this further.
See M and Mrs N v Bury CCG  EWCOP 76