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Removal of essential life support equipment...

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Removal of essential life support equipment...

Postby Hairyloon » Wed Jan 24, 2018 9:44 am

If somebody relies on certain equipment to survive and somebody takes that equipment and the person dies, then would or could that be murder?
Take for example someone with severe asthma and somebody takes away their inhaler. Other examples are also available.
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Re: Removal of essential life support equipment...

Postby atticus » Wed Jan 24, 2018 10:28 am

It could lead to a prosecution.

Why do you think hospitals seek permission of the court to withdraw treatment? There have been a number of cases of patients in a persistent vegetative state. And there are the occasional very sad cases relating to infants - you may recall one last year.
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Re: Removal of essential life support equipment...

Postby Hairyloon » Wed Jan 24, 2018 11:08 am

atticus wrote:Why do you think hospitals seek permission of the court to withdraw treatment?

That is very different to the situation that prompted me to ask. There was a report of a homeless man freezing to death after the council took away his sleeping bag.
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Re: Removal of essential life support equipment...

Postby Smouldering Stoat » Wed Jan 24, 2018 11:39 am

That is not murder. It may conceivably be gross negligence manslaughter.
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Re: Removal of essential life support equipment...

Postby dls » Wed Jan 24, 2018 12:03 pm

HL's question is - as often - awaiting the second step. Nobody is 'taking away' asthma inhalers. There is a complaint abput the continued funding of supplies of such which might end with someone who needs one not being able to get a free renewal.
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Re: Removal of essential life support equipment...

Postby shootist » Wed Jan 24, 2018 1:21 pm

Hairyloon wrote:
atticus wrote:Why do you think hospitals seek permission of the court to withdraw treatment?

That is very different to the situation that prompted me to ask. There was a report of a homeless man freezing to death after the council took away his sleeping bag.


If the sleeping bag was the only thing that was between the man and death then maybe. But he had legs, a tongue in his head, and the ability to sense temperature and a knowledge of the consequences of staying out without his sleeping bag in such weather, presumably. If he had none of these things then he should have been taken in to some form of social care. If he did then he made his choices.
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Re: Removal of essential life support equipment...

Postby diy » Wed Jan 24, 2018 1:35 pm

If they were born alive - Rance v Mid-Downs Health Authority (1991) Then you have the basic mens rea for homicide. The level of intent to kill determines the crime, not the method.
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Re: Removal of essential life support equipment...

Postby atticus » Wed Jan 24, 2018 1:37 pm

The lack of information in the original post and the likelihood that the OP would later give some inkling of what prompted him to ask explains my cautious reply "it could lead to a prosecution". As stoaty says, any prosecution would almost certainly not be for murder. And shooter is correct to say that there are always other factors to be considered.

the previous poster may have missed that the OP postulates a person who, having been alive, is likely to have been born alive.
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Re: Removal of essential life support equipment...

Postby shootist » Wed Jan 24, 2018 4:22 pm

Hairyloon wrote:That is very different to the situation that prompted me to ask. There was a report of a homeless man freezing to death after the council took away his sleeping bag.


https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/homeless-mans-sleeping-bag-binned-11900178
A 66-year-old homeless man found dead near a town hall had his sleeping bag taken away by the local council days before, it has been claimed.
The rough sleeper, known only as 'Kev', was found under a flyover in a car park in Bournemouth yards from the council's offices.
The council said it had attempted to "engage" with 'Kev' for 10 years.
His body was discovered by a friend who claims 'Kev' complained to him Bournemouth Borough Council had 'removed his sleeping bag and possessions' from the site during a recent tidy-up of the area.


It cannot be denied that people like 'Kev' can be nigh on impossible to 'engage' with to any meaningful degree. They lead what is described as chaotic lives, often incapable of thinking past the day they have woken up in. It can fairly be said that they have some sort of mental health problem. The problem is, where is the crossover point at which some authority or other has the right to take away that person's free will?
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Re: Removal of essential life support equipment...

Postby Hairyloon » Wed Jan 24, 2018 4:41 pm

shootist wrote:The problem is, where is the crossover point at which some authority or other has the right to take away that person's free will?

The answer to that, I think, lies in one of the Mental Health Acts, but the question on the table is by what authority did they take away his means of survival?
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