A new court decision in the U.K. expands worldwide debate on the right to remove a loved one from a life support system, according to FOX News in "Wife wins right to let 'minimally conscious' husband die."
Over the past few decades, there has been pressure by advocates around the world for people who are terminally ill to have the right to end their own lives when they want. There is also the argument that family members have a right to take loved ones off of life support, if the patient has previously expressed a desire to not want to live on life support and there is no hope of recovering from the illness.
The case in the U.K. involves a woman whose husband was a police officer, who was struck by a car while riding his motorcycle to work. He suffered severe brain damage and spinal injuries. His wife successfully argued in court to take him off of food and water, so he could pass away in peace.
The difference between this case and previous cases, is that the man could possibly recover from his condition, although in a severely brain damaged state. Some doctors believe he could potentially live for another 10 years after recovery.
The case is likely to be appealed.
This case potentially opens up a new front in what is called the “right to die” debate that elder law advocates will watch closely. Even those elder law advocates who believe in the right to die, want some limits on when it can be invoked.
Reference: FOX News (Dec. 21, 2016) "Wife wins right to let 'minimally conscious' husband die."