Airedale NHS Trust v Bland: FD 19 Nov 1992

The patient had suffered catastrophic injuries in 1989, leaving him in a persistent vegetative state (PVS). The doctors sought leave to discontinue life maintaining treatment and medical support. The inevitable result would be his death. The application was for an order discharging them from any civil or criminal liability.
Held: The provision of food by naso-gastric tube was medical treatment. The decision to withdraw it would be a medical decision. The true cause of the death was the accident. The judge made no declaration as to potential criminal liability, since the action would be within standard and proper medical practice. Future similar decisions should continue to be made after applications to court.


Sir Stephen Brown P


[1993] 2 WLR 316




England and Wales


CitedCruzan v Director, Missouri Department of Health 1990
. .
CitedIn re F (Mental Patient: Sterilisation) HL 4-May-1989
Where a patient lacks capacity, there is the power to provide him with whatever treatment or care is necessary in his own best interests. Medical treatment can be undertaken in an emergency even if, through a lack of capacity, no consent had been . .
CitedBolam v Friern Hospital Management Committee QBD 1957
Professional to use Skilled Persons Ordinary Care
Negligence was alleged against a doctor.
Held: McNair J directed the jury: ‘Where some special skill is exercised, the test for negligence is not the test of the man on the Clapham omnibus, because he has not got this special skill. The test . .
CitedIn Re B (A Minor) (Wardship: Medical Treatment) CA 1981
The child was born with Down’s Syndrome and an intestinal blockage. She needed the obstruction to be relieved if she was to survive. If the operation were performed, the child might die within a few months but it was probable that her life . .

Cited by:

At FDAiredale NHS Trust v Bland CA 9-Dec-1992
The official Solicitor appealed against a decision that doctors could withdraw medical treatment including artificial nutrition, from a patient in persistent vegetative state.
Held: The doctors sought permission to act in accordance with . .
At FDAiredale NHS Trust v Bland HL 4-Feb-1993
Procedures on Withdrawal of Life Support Treatment
The patient had been severely injured in the Hillsborough disaster, and had come to be in a persistent vegetative state (PVS). The doctors sought permission to withdraw medical treatment. The Official Solicitor appealed against an order of the Court . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Crime, Health, Health Professions, Administrative

Updated: 27 April 2022; Ref: scu.174707