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Euthanasia and the Withholding or Withdrawal of Treatment

This is somewhat ambiguous because it is debatable whether a withdrawal will actually lead to a patient's death, supported by Airedale National Health Service Trust v. Bland [1993] AC 789, because in this case, death was said to have been caused by the underlying conditions.

The reason why this area is so complex is that doctors are not qualified to make social and ethical decisions, particularly in the case of neonates and children - so the Bolitho principle, in Bolitho v. City & Hackney Health Authority [1998] AC 232, will be relied upon by the judge to determine whether treatment is logical, evidence-based and reasonable.

Nevertheless, in the leading cases of offences against the person where the consent of the victim to serious harm was undoubtedly given, but is legally invalid, a much lower sentence was given than could have been contemplated if there had been no de facto agreement from the victim at all.


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