BBC4 Radio: Permanent Vegetative State: Withdrawing Nutrition and Hydration

Series 12 of ‘Inside the Ethics Committee’ begins today, August 4th 2016.

A young man, Ben, is critically injured in a road traffic accident and is left in a coma. The family are desperate to save him but, despite the efforts of his medical team, he doesn’t recover. He emerges from a coma into a vegetative state. He fluctuates between periods of sleep and wakefulness but is completely unaware of his surroundings. After a year, the vegetative state he is in is deemed to be permanent. Unable to articulate his wishes himself, Ben’s family consider what is in his best interests. They believe he would find his day-to-day existence intolerable. He can breathe for himself so the only treatment keeping him alive is the nutrition and hydration that he receives through a feeding tube into his stomach. With no prospect of recovery, is it ethical to withdraw the nutrition and hydration that is keeping him alive?

For further details or to listen on iPlayer go here.


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