Hillsborough victim allowed to die
Doctors treating Hillsborough victim Tony Bland can disconnect feeding tubes keeping him alive, a judge at the High Court in London has ruled.
The president of the Family Division, Sir Stephen Brown, said there was no “reasonable possibility” that after three years Mr Bland would emerge from a coma known as a “persistent vegetative state” or PVS.
Mr Bland's parents, Allan and Barbara, supported the doctors' court action and said they were “relieved” at the ruling.
Tony Bland, 22, suffered severe brain damage when he and hundreds of other football supporters were crushed in an overcrowded stand at Hillsborough stadium in April 1989. Ninety-five fans died in the disaster. In the High Court Mr Bland's doctors at Airedale General Hospital, near Keighley in Yorkshire and other experts in the field said he could survive for up to five years but he would never recover.
If food were withdrawn he would die within days. Sir Stephen ruled, for the first time in an English court, that artificial feeding through a tube is medical treatment and that to discontinue treatment would be in accordance with good medical practice. The true cause of Mr Bland's death would be the Hillsborough disaster, Sir Stephen added.
But the lawyer appointed by the Official Solicitor to act on Mr Bland's behalf argued that to withdraw food from him would be tantamount to murder and said he would be appealing against the decision.
Doctors have agreed to continue feeding Mr Bland until after the appeal is heard on