“He deserves a chance”? Continuities and shifts in decision-making about life-sustaining treatment

the family in this case was holding on to the smallest glimmer of hope to stave off the devastating certainty of loss if their loved one died. Like so many people, they also had a belief that their family member was the one who would defy the odds – he is a ‘fighter’ whose sheer determination will enable him to overcome catastrophic brain injury. They also conveyed their strong sense that the person they knew is still ‘in there’, in the warm and moving body, that looks so different from how one imagines a classic ‘coma’.

“It will all work out”: The limits of a positive attitude in the Court of Protection

We appreciate that it would be very difficult for clinicians and judges to take a path that would put EJ’s life at risk. Yet, the trauma of her autonomy being overruled, and the loss of trust in professionals and in her own agency are not insignificant considerations. 

Anorexia and refusing nutrition: An observer’s perspective on A Mental Health Trust v BG

By Charlotte Buck, 4th August 2022 This case concerned Anorexia and the refusal of clinically assisted nutrition and hydration (CANH) – another sad case brought before the Court of Protection for which the circumstances are all too familiar.  I have always been interested in complex medical-ethical cases and, having volunteered on hospital wards for six weeks myself,Continue reading “Anorexia and refusing nutrition: An observer’s perspective on A Mental Health Trust v BG”

Refusing to eat and declining a feeding tube: Capacity at issue

By Celia Kitzinger, 21st April 2022 The hearing concerned an application from an NHS Trust (represented by David Lawson) to insert a PEG-J tube under general anaesthetic and then to deliver clinically assisted nutrition and hydration (CANH) to a young woman (P) who was admitted to hospital having fractured her femur and is now refusing to eat. She’sContinue reading “Refusing to eat and declining a feeding tube: Capacity at issue”

Available options and best interests in a disputed end-of-life treatment case

By Celia Kitzinger, 21 March 2022 The judgment is now published: London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust v M & Ors [2022] EWCOP 13 (21 March 2022) On 14th March 2022, I watched a one-day final hearing about a young man in a prolonged disorder of consciousness from which (doctors say) he will never recover.  Continue reading “Available options and best interests in a disputed end-of-life treatment case”

When doctors are not willing to offer treatments

By Celia Kitzinger, 13th March 2022 This was an unusual hearing because of its focus on a treatment (clinically assisted nutrition)  that doctors were not willing to offer.   By the day of the hearing, the person at the centre of this case (P) had not received nutrition for 10 days, ever since his nasogastric (NG) tubeContinue reading “When doctors are not willing to offer treatments”

A ‘secret’ hearing on life-sustaining treatment

The Health Board was seeking a declaration from the court either [1] that PH does have capacity to refuse nutrition and that his wishes not to continue to be fed should continue to be respected, even if this means his death; OR [2] that PH lacks capacity to refuse nutrition and that it is not in his best interests to attempt to feed him nutrition against his wishes and so he should be allowed to die.

Reflecting on Re MW and Advance Planning: Legal frameworks and why they matter

There are two specific legal frameworks at the heart of this blog, each of which I’ll address in turn. They are (1) Lasting Power of Attorney; and (2) Do Not Attempt Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (DNACPR) decision-making.

Patient dies in hospital as Trust fails to comply with Mental Capacity Act 2005

s well as providing a range of community services in the three Boroughs. The trust employs more than 9,000 clinical and support staff and serves a diverse population of approximately one million people. 

Family dispute about life-sustaining treatment: A directions hearing

By Jenny Kitzinger, 22nd December 2021 The hearing I attended on 21st December 2021 before Ms Justice Russell was yet another case which underlines the dangers of not planning ahead for possible future loss of capacity.  This is what can happen to any of us, at any time, if we are suddenly brain injured, whether fromContinue reading “Family dispute about life-sustaining treatment: A directions hearing”