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   Case summaries      McGlinchey v UK 50390/99

McGlinchey v UK 50390/99 [2003] ECHR 211 European Court of Human Rights

Judith McGlinchey was addicted to heroin and imprisoned for theft offences. In prison she was having withdrawal symptoms from her addiction including severe vomiting. She weighed 50Kg on arrival. Her weight dropped to 40Kg five days later. She phoned home and told them that she was not getting medical treatment and was having to clean up her own vomit. Medical records did indicate that she was having some treatment. Her condition worsened and she started vomiting blood. She collapsed and was fitting 7 days after her admittance and was taken to hospital by ambulance. Her hair was matted with vomit she arrested and was resuscitated and put in an intensive care on life support. She suffered severe brain damage as a result of her arrest. She died two weeks later. The applicants submit that Judith underwent inhuman and degrading treatment due to the failure in her medical care. 


There was a violation of Art 3. The lack of health care provided left Judith distressed and suffering. The rapid weight loss had not been appropriately dealt with. She should have been admitted to hospital earlier and as a result she been dangerously dehydrated.

Back to lecture outline on Art 3 ECHR