Irreversible coma

Other Names:
Brain death
Persistent vegetative state

Since modern medical technology can support the non-intelligent functions of a human body virtually indefinitely (subject to natural aging), the issue has arisen as to whether people in irreversible coma and on life-support systems should be maintained in a vegetative state or allowed to die.


A brain dead survivor of a UK soccer riot in 1989, who had his chest crushed and brain deprived of oxygen, had his feeding bottle discontinued in 1993 following a court order which ruled he had no hope of recovery. The Law Lords called on Parliament to draw up guidelines for future cases, saying the courts were the wrong bodies to decide such controversial ethical and moral issues.

Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 3: Good Health and Well-beingGOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong Institutions
Problem Type:
E: Emanations of other problems
Date of last update
04.10.2020 – 22:48 CEST