Coma victim can be allowed to die

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THE Court of Appeal yesterday agreed that a doctor treating a 24-year-old man with severe, permanent brain damage could allow him to die.

Three judges unanimously ruled that the decision over the patient, who had been in a 'vegetative' state for two-and-a-half years since taking a drugs overdose, had been properly taken.

Sir Thomas Bingham, the Master of the Rolls, sitting with Lord Justices Waite and Gibson, said the patient, 'S', had been diagnosed in Bristol as suffering from an irreversible persistent vegetative state and should be allowed to die.

The judges rejected an appeal by the Official Solicitor, Peter Harris, acting on behalf of patient S, against Thursday's legal sanctioning of the decision not to reconnect him to a feeding tube after it became disconnected accidentally on Monday. Mr Harris later said he would not appeal.