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Court, Family Disagree On Use Of 'Wake-Up' Drug For Woman
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
November 30, 2006

LONDON, ENGLAND--A judge has ordered doctors to give a sleeping pill to a woman diagnosed as being in a persistent vegetative state in order to "wake her up", in direct defiance of her family's wishes.

According to various news sources, the 53-year-old woman, who cannot be named for privacy reasons, suffered a massive brain hemorrhage in August 2003.

The government's Official Solicitor, Laurence Oates, suggested that the woman be given a dose of the drug zolpidem, which has been known to help some people in a vegetative state to recover. It also reportedly carries a risk of causing permanent disabilities.

The woman's family has resisted this, saying that she would not want to live with severe disabilities if she is aware of them. Instead, they say they want her to "die with dignity", and have requested that the feeding tube that provides her with nutrition and hydration be removed.

Earlier this month, Sir Mark Potter, president of the high court's family division, ruled that doctors should try a course of zolpidem before the feeding tube is removed.

It is believed to be the first case in Britain where the use of the drug has been at issue.

Related:
"Family right-to-die plea rejected" (BBC News)

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/6164716.stm

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