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Scots Law Tales$
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John Grant and Elaine E. Sutherland

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9781845860677

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781845860677.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 05 July 2022

Giving Up or Letting Go

Giving Up or Letting Go

Law Hospital NHS Trust v Lord Advocate

(p.137) Chapter 8 Giving Up or Letting Go
Scots Law Tales

Sheila A M McLean

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter examines the Law Hospital NHS Trust case (1996) involving Janet Johnstone, a patient in a permanent vegetative state (PVS). Johnstone received assisted nutrition and hydration (ANH) treatment for almost three years. The issue in this case is whether or not the State, through the courts, can allow medical professionals to discontinue the ANH treatment and bring about the death of a PVS patient. The case moved from the Court of Session to the House of Lords whose ruling favoured the discontinuance of the ANH treatment. The case highlighted ethical and clinical dilemmas. The ethical dilemma centred on whether or not it was right to discontinue Johnstone's life support. The clinical dilemma focused on whether or not it could ever be appropriate to continue to use scarce resources, namely the time and expertise of medical professionals.

Keywords:   Law Hospital NHS Trust case, 1996, Janet Johnstone, permanent vegetative state, assisted nutrition, hydration, Court of Session, House of Lords, life support

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