Bioethics Blogs

In the Presence of a Spoon – VSED & Margot Bentley

This past Sunday, CBC aired a 30-minute

documentary on the Margot Bentley case.


The description reads: “Margot Bentley was a nurse in BC who made her end of life wishes crystal clear and on paper. Now, 17 years into dementia and many court cases later, she is being kept alive – all because she opens her mouth in the presence of a spoon.”

I disagree that her wishes were “crystal clear.”  But I agree with the family that opening her mouth is not consent.  And I agree that she is living in “extreme degradation . . . a horrible place she would never want to be.”  

Perhaps worst of all, the case may chill others from ding advance care planning.  When families read about this case and the failure of planning instruments completed by a nurse whose father was a judge, they may conclude: “What’s the point?”

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.