A "profoundly" brain-damaged woman who relatives say should be allowed to die sometimes displays a "bit of a smile" when gently teased about men, a carer has told a High Court judge.
The 51-year-old woman, who is "minimally conscious", sometimes also made a different sound if carers joked about a man being good looking, Mr Justice Baker heard.
Relatives want the judge to order that "artificial nutrition and hydration" should be withdrawn from the woman - who cannot be identified for legal reasons and is being referred to as "M" during the Court of Protection hearing in London.
But a lawyer appointed by the court to represent M's interests opposes the relatives' application - arguing that M is "otherwise clinically stable" and "has signs of awareness".
It is thought to be the first time that a judge has been asked to rule on whether life-supporting treatment should be withdrawn from a person who is not in a "persistent vegetative state" but is "minimally conscious".
Mr Justice Baker, who is due to visit M on Monday, has described the case as "unique" and says it raises "very important issues of principle".
The female carer, who works in the care home in the north of England where M lives, said M sometimes showed "awareness" if gently teased when her wheelchair was pushed by a man.
The judge has heard that M suffered "profound brain damage" in early 2003 after being diagnosed with viral encephalitis. She was in a coma for several weeks and had been thought to be in a "persistent vegetative state".
Doctors later concluded that she was in a "minimally conscious state" - a state just above a "persistent vegetative state".
Vikram Sachdeva, for relatives, says M's family felt that she would not want to live a life "dependent on others".