Judge was wrong to insist doctors should give “burdensome” treatment to minimally conscious patient, court rules

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: (Published 04 March 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f1455
  1. Clare Dyer
  1. 1BMJ

The Court of Appeal in London has unanimously overturned a ruling by a Court of Protection judge who had refused to sanction the withholding of certain life prolonging treatments from a patient deemed minimally conscious by clinicians.

Last December at the Court of Protection Mr Justice Peter Jackson refused doctors a declaration that they need not give 68 year old David James cardiopulmonary resuscitation, renal replacement therapy, or invasive support for chronic low blood pressure if his condition deteriorated.1

But Aintree University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in Liverpool, which was treating him, successfully appealed against the ruling. In a judgment handed down on 1 March the three appeal court judges revealed that they had allowed the trust’s …

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