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Judges allow tragic mother some dignity

IT IS a tragedy that is every family's worst nightmare regardless of the time of the year. That it should happen over the festive period makes it particularly sad.

A pregnant young woman, left brain dead after a suspected haemorrhage, was kept for weeks on a life-support machine while a legal battle ensued over the life of her unborn child, which was just about 15 weeks old when she was struck down.

The women's family argued that she should be allowed to die with dignity, but doctors feared breaking the law that gives equal weight to a mother and her unborn child's lives.

Yesterday, three High Court judges ruled that the machine could be turned off at the discretion of the medical team; that to continue life-support would deprive the woman of dignity in death and subject her family to further distress.

It is clear the laws in this area need further examination.

For now it can only be hoped that the family in this desperately sad situation gain some closure from the judges' decision.