d is enormous and awful to read about” such that she “will never be able to live outside of residential care” and “things that have been dear to her, she will never be able to enjoy in the way she would have contemplated”. But he clearly stated that this “hypothetical factual matrix” (i.e. even if these facts are all true), “does not automatically indicate a clear best interests outcome”.
At the end of the hearing, in her closing summary, Emma Sutton acknowledged that it was a “finely balanced” decision but came down on the side that amputation was NOT in her best interests – most especially as it went counter not only to her current wishes and feelings, but also to her clearly expressed capacitous decisions as recently as last year.
“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.”
To the ICU clinician, the facts of this case are notable for their ordinariness. This is obviously an unimaginably sad situation for the person and for the family involved, but this sort of clinical situation evolves every day in intensive care units around the country.
The judge invited her mother to choose a pseudonym (for the published judgment) that her daughter might have liked. She is anonymised as “Lilia” – the name of her favourite teddy bear.
“It wasn’t combative like you see on the TV. Instead there was a very clear statement from the judge that these were civil proceedings and were very different from a criminal case – there was no ‘prosecution’ and it should not be seen as ‘a fight'”
By Bonnie Venter, 23rd February 2021 Editorial Notes: (1) A tweet thread about the hearing is available here. (2) The judgment has been published here. (3) A different perspective on the same hearing (by Bridget Penhale) has been published here. There are moments in life that cause a monumental shift in who we used to be and who we areContinue reading “Ethical complexity in a life-sustaining treatment case”
By Bridget Penhale, 22nd February 2021 Editorial note: The judgment has been published here. When I logged into this hearing (COP 13712297, before Mr Justice Hayden) on the afternoon of Wednesday 10thFebruary 2021, I discovered it had been listed as an urgent matter relating to medical decisions about TW, a 50-year-old man with a catastrophicContinue reading “Treatment withdrawal in the ICU when clinicians and family disagree”
“Nine public observers attended (via MS Teams) an all-day hearing in the Court of Protection before Mr Justice Poole (COP 1353507, 30 October 2020) concerning whether or not life-sustaining treatment should be continued…”
“…Lieven J’s handling of an emergency application and the way in which best interests was decided in this case are going to greatly inform my future research into the way in which the best interests test is applied by professionals in both medical and legal settings…”