Bioethics News

The socialite and her dialysis machine

Is “life is no fun any more” sufficient and rational reason to refuse life-saving medical treatment? A British judge in the Court of Protection decided that it was in the case of “C”, a woman dying of kidney failure.

The woman behind the judgement in Kings College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust v C & Anor is – or was (she may be dead by now)– an extraordinary character. Here is Justice MacDonald’s summation of her life

C is a person to whom the epithet ‘conventional’ will never be applied. By her own account, the account of her eldest daughters and the account of her father, C has led a life characterised by impulsive and self-centred decision making without guilt or regret. C has had four marriages and a number of affairs and has, it is said, spent the money of her husbands and lovers recklessly before moving on when things got difficult or the money ran out. She has, by their account, been an entirely reluctant and at times completely indifferent mother to her three caring daughters. Her consumption of alcohol has been excessive and, at times, out of control. C is, as all who know her and C herself appears to agree, a person who seeks to live life entirely, and unapologetically on her own terms; that life revolving largely around her looks, men, material possessions and ‘living the high life’. In particular, it is clear that during her life C has placed a significant premium on youth and beauty and on living a life that, in C’s words, ‘sparkles’.

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.