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”

Family witnesses in court: Four reflections on Re AH (A Rehearing)

Suggesting that the family is lacking in objectivity because they are in some way psychologically compromised serves the purpose of undermining and discrediting their evidence.  This was not necessary to powerfully argue the Trust’s case that ongoing life-sustaining treatment is not in AH’s best interests. The medical evidence stood alone.

Health and Welfare Attorney applies for urgent hearing on life-sustaining treatment

The patient’s son and daughter had been asked to agree to the insertion of the naso-gastric tube (on about 23rd October 2021) but had not been consulted about its removal.  They say they’d not been told about the removal of the tube in advance, or asked what their mother would want. 

When another assessment is not needed: Best interests decision-making for a patient with a prolonged disorder of consciousness

s going to be, what would he have decided? He was not going to decide that on the basis of a SMART score.”

Life-sustaining treatment contrary to his best interests: Lessons from a supplementary hearing

By Jenny Kitzinger, 30 July 2021 The hearing I attended at the Court of Protection on 15th July 2021 (Case No. 1375980T before Mr Justice Hayden) was unusual in that it was described by the judge as a “supplementary hearing”. I’d not come across this type of hearing before, so was interested in the format and processContinue reading “Life-sustaining treatment contrary to his best interests: Lessons from a supplementary hearing”

On being ‘that person’: A disabled perspective on ‘ZA’

By Gill Loomes-Quinn, 29th April 2021 My OJCOP colleague, Celia Kitzinger, and our regular contributor, Claire Martin recently observed a challenging case before the Court of Protection concerning ‘ZA’ – a woman with Schizophrenia and diabetes. Proceedings followed an application by the NHS Trust from which ZA has been receiving treatment for severe infections andContinue reading “On being ‘that person’: A disabled perspective on ‘ZA’”

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.”

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.

Parents in conflict over life-sustaining treatment for their daughter

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.