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Court rules in favour of GMC's guidance on withholding treatment

BMJ 2005; 331 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.331.7512.309-a (Published 04 August 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;331:309
  1. Clare Dyer, legal correspondent
  1. BMJ

    The General Medical Council last week won its appeal against a high court judgment that doctors feared could have forced them to provide futile or harmful treatments if patients demanded them.

    The judgment, from Mr Justice Munby last July in the case of Leslie Burke, who has the degenerative disease spinocerebellar ataxia, was hailed as a landmark ruling for patients' rights.

    Mr Burke had challenged the GMC's guidelines on withholding and withdrawing life prolonging treatments. He feared that when he reached the point where he could no longer communicate his wishes doctors would decide that his quality of life was too poor to continue artificial nutrition and hydration …

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