County Durham and Darlington NHSFT v PP [2014] EWCOP 9, [2014] MHLO 65

"The Trust seeks the Courts authority, and corresponding declarations, as to P's treatment, in particular the possible withdrawal, or non-escalation of, life-sustaining treatment as part of an end of life care package. The Trust contends (and interim declarations have been made to this effect already) that P lacks the capacity to litigate, and to make decisions in relation to the serious medical treatment in issue in this application. Specifically the Trust seeks the following declarations pursuant to section 15(1)(c) of the Mental Capacity Act 2005: (a) That it is lawful and in P's best interests to continue to receive artificial hydration via subcutaneous injection. (b) That it is lawful and in P's best interests that the Trust's treating clinicians shall be permitted: (i) Not to provide artificial nutrition by a percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy tube or via an alternative artificial feeding regime; and (ii) Not to resuscitate her in the event of either a cardiac or respiratory arrest."

39 Essex Street

39 Essex Street have kindly agreed for the following summary to be reproduced below. For the original newsletter see 39 Essex Street Mental Capacity Law Newsletter#August 2014

Short Note: Medical Treatment at the end of life

In County Durham & Darlington NHS Foundation Trust v PP & Ors [2014] EWCOP 9B, declarations were made that it was not in P’s best interests to receive artificial nutrition or for attempts to be made at resuscitation in the event of cardiac or respiratory arrest as part of an end of life care package. P was an 85 year old woman who was ‘in a terminal phase of her life’ and was only expected to live up to another 4 weeks. The court accepted the medical consensus that she was in a state of diminished consciousness, and that any escalation of treatment would not be in P’s best interests as it would be unlikely to be successful in assisting her either to regain capacity or to have a meaningful quality of life, and would be accompanied by significant physical burdens.

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