Intended for healthcare professionals


Hospital is refused permission to withhold “futile” treatment if patient’s condition deteriorates

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: (Published 10 December 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e8404
  1. Clare Dyer
  1. 1BMJ

A High Court judge has refused to give a hospital trust caring for a man deemed minimally conscious by clinicians a declaration that it need not offer him “futile and burdensome” treatment if his condition deteriorated.

The unnamed trust wanted a declaration that it need not give David James, a 68 year old former musician, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, renal replacement treatment, or invasive support for chronic low blood pressure in an attempt to keep him alive.

But at the Court of Protection Mr Justice Peter Jackson refused the declaration, which was strongly opposed by James’s family. The judge said, “Although …

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