Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:

Observations Ethics Man

Cautionary tales about DNACPR

BMJ 2016; 352 doi: (Published 05 January 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;352:i26

Rapid Response:

Attempted CPR and possible legal prosecution

I believe the type of prosecution mentioned by Richard Venn in his rapid response (this series) of 16 January is very unlikely, however desirable it might seem.

I think the most likely prosecution, will [if it happens] be for attempted CPR after a suitably-empowered welfare attorney has expressed a decision that attempted CPR would not be in the patient's best interests. The wording of the Mental Capacity Act, in section 6(7), seems quite clear, and I would point at the word 'while': the relevant wording is 'while a decision as respects any relevant issue is sought from the court'.

And, I consider that the most likely person to be prosecuted for such an 'assault', is a 999 paramedic.

Competing interests: No competing interests

18 January 2016
Michael H Stone
Retired Non Clinical
None Private Individual
Coventry CV2 4HN