This judgment considered whether legal proceedings were necessary when there was agreement between the Patient's family and her clinicians that CANH was no longer in her best interests. The judge concluded that they were not.
The Patient M was in a minimally conscious state (MCS) and had been receiving clinically assisted nutrition and hydration (CANH). The main point to be determined was whether legal proceedings were necessary or not when there was agreement between M's family and her clinicians that CANH was no longer in her best interests. Practice Direction 9E provides that decisions about the proposed withholding or withdrawal of CANH from a person in a permanent vegetative state (PVS) or MCS should be brought to court and the court had to decide if this PD should be followed.
The court ruled that a decision to withdraw CANH, taken in accordance with the prevailing professional guidance will be lawful and the clinicians will benefit from the protection of s.5 MCA. However, every case is intensely fact-specific, and those considering withdrawal of CANH should not hesitate to approach the Court of Protection in any case in which it seems to them to be right to do so.
Read the full text of the judgment on Bailii
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