Withdrawing treatment after brain-stem death: A case in the Family Division

Today I watched a hearing about whether or not a woman in her 40s is dead. She was declared dead at 11.45 on Thursday 10 March 2022, following brain stem death testing. The reason the doctors have continued to treat the patient and the reason the Trust has applied to court is that the family has opposed withdrawal of ventilation (and other treatments) and has asked for a private second opinion.    

“Non-mainstream” treatments and CPR for a COVID-19 patient in intensive care

Counsel asked whether, if the court were of the view that CPR was in AB’s best interests, the treating team would then be willing to administer CPR.  This question was presumably designed to address a lack of clarity (quite common, in my experience, in Court of Protection cases) as to whether a proposed treatment is actually an available option for the court to consider.  The court cannot order doctors to give futile treatments – and CPR had been so described by Dr G.