The UK Apex Court ruled [judgment, PDF] on 30th July, that in cases where a patient is in a permanent vegetative state [NHS backgrounder], the patient may be taken off life support, including feeding tubes, without court approval if both the relatives and the doctors are in agreement. The UK Court of Protection will still issue a ruling in cases where the relatives and doctors disagree.
The case is related to a man identified as Mr. Y., who entered a vegetative state over a year ago after suffering cardiac arrest. Physican said there was little change to recover Mr. Y. His family member agreed to take off life support.
The Apex court of UK is found that there was no domestic or international law precedent that required court approval for the withdrawal of feeding tubes if both physicians and families felt it was in the patient’s best interest.