Citation: Re BWV; Ex parte Gardner (2003) 7 VR 487
Jurisdiction: Supreme Court of Victoria – Morris J.
Procedural History: Supreme Court Victoria – first instance decision.
Judgment was passed on the 29th May 2003. The plaintiff, the Public Advocate of Victoria was a limited guardian of BWV, a woman aged 68 years old, who suffered from fatal and progressive dementia. The plaintiff was appointed the guardian of BWV to make medical decisions on her behalf, due to BWV’s unconsciousness with no brain activity or bodily functions for 3 years. BWV received fluid and nutrition required to keep her alive by percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG). BWV’s brain stem functions normally but her cortex is damaged. She has no prospect of improvement, hence making PEG medical treatment pointless (as witnessed by 3 medical practitioners – Dr. Michael Ashby; Professor Malcolm Horne; Dr. Michael Woodward). Consulting medical professionals led to the conclusion that upon treatment cessation, BWV…show more content… The law effectively covers situations in which a patient can personally consider the effects of terminated treatments, but does not provide for situations in which the patient is incompetent to inform agents of their desires. Conflict occurs when the court requires evidence for consent to end lifesaving medical treatment, which could be otherwise avoided should the Act be amended to accommodate the needs of the patient (for example, conversations held in passing being held as evidence). The Act should be amended to allow families to make the judgment rather than the patient themselves (such as in Re BWV, Ex Parte Gardner (2003) 7 VR 487, 491). Although it is possible to make decisions on a patient’s behalf, clarification by the Victorian state is needed. The legislation fails to make distinctions between the patient’s desires and what is in their best