Publicado: Mier, Agosto 01, 2018
Salud | Por Gertrudes Rodriquez

Court ruling not needed to stop end-of-life care

Court ruling not needed to stop end-of-life care

Legal permission will no longer be required to end care for patients in a permanent vegetative state, the Supreme Court has ruled.

A police man stands outside the Supreme Court before the decision of a court ruling on whether Theresa May's government requires parliamentary approval to start the process of leaving the European Union, in Parliament Square, central London, Britain, January 24, 2017.

The Supreme Court ruled yesterday that a hospital could withdraw treatment when patients have "prolonged disorder of consciousness", such as a minimally conscious or persistent vegetative state, if families and medical staff agree.

The 52-year-old financial analyst, named only as Mr Y, had a cardiac arrest in June 2017 which led to him entering a prolonged disorder of consciousness (PDOC).

He said such cases should be brought to court regardless of whether or not there was an agreement between relatives and doctors.

The ruling comes after a banker in his 50s suffered severe brain damage after a heart attack.

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He fell into PDOC and was unable to make further decisions on his wellbeing.

If families and the medical team were in dispute, as in the recent cases of the children Charlie Gard and Alfie Evans, then the decision would still have to come before a judge.

The judge agreed, but the official solicitor appealed on behalf of Mr Y - an appeal which has now been dismissed. Although Mr Y died in the intervening period, the importance of issues raised by the case meant the appeal went ahead.

Tom Lax, a senior solicitor at Bolt Burdon Kemp, said the judgement, which mentions the costs to the health service of court cases, threatened to reduce legal and moral concerns to political ones.

"If the provisions of the Mental Capacity Act are followed and the relevant guidance observed, and if there is agreement upon what is in the best interests of the patient, the patient may be treated in accordance with that agreement without application to the court", she said.

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