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Mrs Inglis found guilty of murdering her son

A mother who gave her brain-damaged
son a lethal heroin injection was found guilty of murder and attempted murder
today. Tom Inglis had sustained brain damage as a result of an accident in
2007, and had been in a coma ever since. Mrs Inglis described the state her 22 year old son Tom was in following
his head injuries as a “living hell”, and admits to giving him a fatal

Wootton, Chief Executive of Dignity in Dying said:

absolutely don’t condone breaking the law, despite it being clear that Mrs
Inglis was motivated by love and compassion.

case acts as a sad reminder that we should all make our treatment wishes known
to loved ones, and to our doctors, through an Advance Decision. Advance Decisions are legally binding
documents which, if valid and applicable, must be respected. Had Tom Inglis had an Advance Decision
stating that he refused life-sustaining treatment in the situation he found
himself in, the doctors would have had to respect that refusal of treatment.

Inglis’ perception of Tom’s condition was that there was no hope for his
recovery, perhaps due to a lack of communication between health professionals
and Tom’s family. Given advances in medicine
and changes to the law, the General Medical Council is in the process of
creating guidelines for health professionals on end-of-life treatment and
decision-making. We hope this will minimise discrepancies in care, treatment
and information provision, and help to support
health professionals to provide the best possible care and patient-centered
choice at the end of life, for the benefit of both patients and their loved
ones. Dignity in Dying looks forward to
the publication of this guidance and hopes it will improve end of life care
across the board.”

Notes to

About Dignity in Dying:

· Dignity
in Dying campaigns for greater choice, control and access to services at the
end of life. It advocates providing terminally ill adults with the option of an
assisted death, within strict legal safeguards, and for universal access to
high quality end-of-life care.

· Dignity
in Dying has over 100,000 supporters and receives its funding entirely from
donations from the public.

· Surveys
consistently show that at least 80% of the UK population supports a change in
the law on assisted dying.

poll October 2008, commissioned by Dignity in Dying.

  • Approximately 61% of
    the population know that they have the right to refuse medical treatment
    in advance if they lose the ability to communicate.
  • Approximately 11% have
    an Advance Decision.

poll September 2006, commissioned by Dignity in Dying.

  • Almost a fifth (19%)
    know of someone who would benefit from an Advance Decision or who would
    have died a better death had they had an Advance Decision
  • 39% of people, and 42%
    of those over 65, did not realise that relatives have no automatic legal
    rights in this area.

The GMC guidance

Following a consultation will be
launched in late Spring 2010. For more information
go to:

Compassion in Dying

Compassion in Dying provides Advance
Decisions free of charge at:


For all media enquiries, please
contact Jo Cartwright on 020 7479 7737 / 07725433025 or at