Appeal against a declaration that ventilation and CANH could be withdrawn from the P who was in a coma following a cardiac arrest. Appeal dismissed.
See University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust v RS & Anor  EWCOP 70 for a background to the case. The P's wife was in agreement that life saving treatment could be withdrawn but other members of the P's family were opposed to that course of action and appealed against a declaration made by the CoP that treatment could be withdrawn. Their core submission was that the decision was unjust because of serious procedural error in that it was taken with an insufficient degree of inquiry into how the P would have wanted to be treated against the backdrop of the tenets of his Catholic faith. Instead the court moved far too swiftly to the conclusion that this devout Christian man would have wanted something that was in conflict with religious teaching that the end of life is a matter for God and not for Man.
The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal. The pace of proceedings of this kind must be suited to the needs of the individual case. Inquiries must never be rushed but they should only be prolonged if they would provide useful information. Here, the court was quite satisfied that nothing could have been achieved by postponing a decision. There was no lack of clarity about the P's very strong religious belief in the sanctity of life and the judge clearly gave full weight to that factor. Nor would further time have allowed the court to reach a fuller conclusion about the P's likely perspective on his current situation. The Judge had a body of evidence to consider and he reached a conclusion about it.
Read the full text of the judgment on Bailii
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