End of Life: DNR & Artificial Hydration

End of Life: DNR & Artificial Hydration

The Court of Protection heard the recent case of an County Durham & Darlington NHS Foundation Trust and PP [2014] EWCOP 9, in which Sam Karim, instructed by the NHS Trust successfully obtained declarations that it was:

(a) lawful and in PP’s best interests to continue to receive artificial hydration via subcutaneous injection; and

(b) lawful and in PP’s best interests that the Trust’s treating clinicians were permitted:- (i) not to provide artificial nutrition by a percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy tube (PEG) or via an alternative artificial feeding regime; and (ii) not to resuscitate her in the event of either a cardiac or respiratory arrest.

In adopting the rationale as stated by Lady Hale in Aintree University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust –v- James [2013] 3 WLR 1299, Mr. Justice Cobb said at paragraphs 49 and 50 that:

“I have weighed carefully the arguments for and against the declarations, canvassed in the argument and in the evidence. I have had regard to the views of the family and– so far as it is possible to ascertain them – of P herself. I have had regard to the uniform medical views as to her realistic prognosis, and the probability that she will not regain any or any significantly enhanced consciousness, let alone capacity… The evidence in support of the Trust’s applications has, in the end, been overwhelmingly clear.”

Download a copy of the judgment

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