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Court involvement in decisions to withdraw CANH in patients with persistent vegetative and minimally conscious states

A significant recent judgement in the Court of Protection marks a departure from the requirement that all cases involving decisions to withdraw clinically assisted nutrition and hydration (CANH) from patients in persistent vegetative or minimally conscious states should be subject to scrutiny in court. Mr Justice Peter Jackson reasoned in M v A Hospital [2017] EWCOP 19 that, given that these cases turn on judgements by healthcare professionals and families about what lies in a patient’s best interests, if there is consensus that withdrawal of CANH is in the patient’s best interests, continuing CANH while the judgement of the court is sought can lead to a long extension of treatment that no-one believes to be in the patient’s interests.  Being a significant change of legal direction, the judgement is likely to be contested by the Official Solicitor.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/sep/20/right-to-die-court-decision-severe-illnesses-life-support