The Official Solicitor
The Supreme Court

The Alliance has been closely following the matter involving Health Trusts and the patients known only as "M" and "H" concerning their human rights under section 2&3 of the Human Rights Act.

There is a body of medical evidence that challenges the assumption that patients in the persistent vegetative state do not experience thirst. It was
made available to your predecessor shortly after it was published. In a review of the then scientific literature by Dr Peter McCullagh and published in 1996 he concluded that persons are unable to experience thirst only if the thirst centre at the base of the brain was not functioning. This centre is situated lower than those areas which if damaged result in the persistent vegetative state.

In 1998 at the BMA`s annual meeting during a wide ranging discussion of the role of the courts by the many delegates present ,I drew attention to this review whilst arguing in favour of a continuing role for the courts where new knowledge could be tested impartialy.

The information was oassed to your predecessor and to Sir Stephen Brown by the late Cardinal Hume in 1996 and it is suprising that it has not yet been tested in any of the hearings leading to declarations or indeed in the present case.

On behalf of the Alliance I respectfully ask if it could introduced now as part of an appeal.