A legal miscellany

Posted on December 1st, by editor in Caring Times. No Comments

A number of legal cases of general interest within the care sector were decided in the latter part of 2005. In Burke _v_ General Medical Council (GMC) the Court of Appeal allowed the appeal of the GMC, holding that guidance in relation to the withdrawal of treatment, including artificial nutrition and hydration, was not unlawful. Where a competent patient required artificial nutrition and hydration in order to continue to live, and wanted it, the doctors had to provide it and a refusal to do so would amount to murder (as well as a breach of duty). On the facts of this particular case, Mr Burke would have the capacity to indicate his continuing wish to receive artificial nutrition and hydration until the last stages of his illness; once that point was reached, artificial nutrition and hydration would not be capable of prolonging his life and he was clear that once that stage was reached, he did not want artificial nourishment to continue. The Court of Appeal stated that there was no basis in the GMC’s guidance

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