An invisible attention bias: A response to ‘The elephant in the courtroom’

I wonder what checks and balances we can put in place to ensure that the case managers, care home managers, District Nurses, GPs, ward managers, or consultants nominally ‘in charge’ of a patient’s care do carry out reviews of these decisions using a best interests approach if P lacks capacity.  

The elephant in the courtroom: Clinically assisted nutrition and hydration in a hearing about care and residence

By Celia Kitzinger, 23rd August 2021 (Note: This blog has been revised and corrected following correspondence with the two barristers in the hearing I observed. Thank you to both of them for the time they spent on this.) I’m profoundly disturbed by this case (COP 12913981) before District Judge Beckley, which has been slowly progressingContinue reading “The elephant in the courtroom: Clinically assisted nutrition and hydration in a hearing about care and residence”

Delay is inimical to P’s welfare: Guidance on clinically-assisted nutrition and hydration for PDoC patients

e of poor practice, and active resistance from some quarters, the court could also make clear that continued provision of medical treatment when it is not in someone’s best interests is an assault, and that clinicians will not be able to rely on the defence in s.5 of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 – meaning that there is a risk to them and to their organisations of claims for damages.

Urgency, delayed decision-making and ethics in the Court of Protection

reatment for patients who are unable to decide for themselves. In England and Wales, they haven’t, or only extremely rarely, been called as expert witnesses. Yet ethics is obviously central to the work of the Court of Protection. And if this hearing is anything to go by, if judges or barristers were willing to call on them, it seems that there could be a place for an ethicist in the courtroom.

Clinically-assisted nutrition and hydration: Decisions that cannot be ignored or delayed

By Jenny Kitzinger, 23rd June 2021 Hearings in the Court of Protection often bring crucial issues into sharp relief in a vivid, poignant and intellectually rigorous way.  This was certainly so in the hearing I observed last week: Case No. 1375980T on 10 June 2021. It concerned GU, a 70-year-old man who sustained a severe anoxic brain injury in AprilContinue reading “Clinically-assisted nutrition and hydration: Decisions that cannot be ignored or delayed”

Faith, Science and the objectivity of expert evidence

“If organisations like Christian Concern are willing to spend time and money on conducting their ‘pro-life’ campaigns via courtroom litigation, and can find experts willing to act for them, there may be very little the Court of Protection can do to prevent them.”

Ambiguity and uncertainty in clinical reasoning

“So,  I would not only allow but would actively encourage video recording, especially by family members, and especially of observed behaviours the family believe may not have been seen or noticed by clinical observers. If this is openly discussed at an early stage, the clinical team can, at the same time, point out that any recorded material must not be disseminated beyond those people who have a legitimate personal relationship with the patient”

Seeing is Believing? Patient Videos in Life-Sustaining Treatment Disputes

“The dispute about RS’s treatment spread well beyond his treating team and his family. It spilled out from the bedside to the courts and into the public domain and then back again through the legal system (including the Court of Protection, the Court of Appeal, and the European Court of Human Rights). There were many powerful forces at play, and a huge clash of religious and cultural values. The persuasive power of video was a crucial lightening rod in how the story played out.”

A life worth living? The importance of advance decisions

I joined the hearing expecting to come out of it with an increased understanding and experience of the law in this area, which would complement my studies. However, to my surprise, I left with an increased personal awareness of the importance discussing these often ‘taboo’ and topical subjects.