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Thursday, 9 March, 2000, 13:25 GMT
Husband abandons 'right to die' fight
Lorraine Lane
Lorraine Lane has shown signs of life
A husband has abandoned his battle to have his wife's life-support machine turned off after she showed signs of life.

Lorraine Lane, 43, of Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, suffered a stroke last February and is currently being treated at a nursing home and at a rehabilitation centre.

I do not know if I could go through with terminating her life in her current state

Neil Lane
With the backing of Mrs Lane's mother, her 45-year-old husband Neil wanted to obtain a High Court order to stop doctors feeding his wife or giving her medication.

Mr Lane, a courier firm supervisor, also said he would have taken the case as far as the House of Lords but he will not be pursuing it now after she squeezed his hand and showed signs of being aware of her surroundings.

The development prompted the mother-of-one to be rediagnosed as "minimally aware", a condition less severe than a permanent vegetative state (PVS).

Mr Lane, who supports euthanasia, said: "I do not know if I could go through with terminating her life in her current state.

"I could not live with the thought of Lorraine being aware of what is going on and being effectively starved to death."


He said he did not believe a court would back a move to have her life-support machine turned off.

In 1992, the courts set a legal precedent by allowing doctors to stop feeding 22-year-old Hillsborough victim Tony Bland.

But Mr Bland was in a Persistent Vegetative State, which meant he had no detectable brain activity.

"It could be years before it is resolved and may even go as far as the European Court of Human Rights," he added.

"It was easier before because we thought she was in PVS. It used to be clear cut, but it is not any more," he said.

Mr Lane said his wife occasionally reacted to commands from doctors to squeeze her hand but her reactions were "inconsistent" and he still had little hope she would get better.

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See also:

21 Jul 99 |  Health
Right-to-die case: The reaction
06 Jul 98 |  Health
Doctors face ethical dilemmas
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