Case details

An NHS Trust (Respondent) v Y (by his litigation friend, the Official Solicitor) and another (Appellant)

Case ID: UKSC 2017/0202

Case summary

Issue(s)

Is it mandatory to bring before the court the withdrawal of Clinically Assisted Nutrition and Hydration ("CANH") from a patient who has a prolonged disorder of consciousness ("PDOC"), in circumstances where the clinical team and the family are agreed that it is not in the patient's best interests that he continues to receive that treatment?

Facts

The Appellant, Mr Y, was a 52-year old man, who suffered a severe hypoxic brain injury on 2 June 2017 as the result of a cardiac arrest. Following his cardiac arrest, Mr Y fell into a PDOC, with no capacity to make decisions about his future care. Two medical experts agreed that Mr Y was in a very low level of responsiveness with no awareness of self or his environment, and that it was highly improbable that he would re-emerge into consciousness. The clinical team and Mr Y's family agreed that it would be in Mr Y’s best interests for CANH to be withdrawn, with the consequence that he would die within 2 to 3 weeks.

On 1 November 2017, the first Respondent, the NHS Trust, issued proceedings seeking a declaration that it is not mandatory to bring before the Court the withdrawal of CANH from a patient who has a PDOC, in circumstances where the clinical team and the family agree that it is not in the patient's best interests that he continues to receive that treatment. This was resisted by the Official Solicitor as Mr Y’s litigation friend. The High Court granted a declaration albeit in more narrow terms than those sought by the Trust.

Since the Supreme Court granted permission to appeal, Mr Y has died. Notwithstanding the Appellant’s sad death, the Court gave permission for the appeal to proceed.

Judgment appealed

[2017] EWHC 2866 (QB)

Parties

Appellant(s)

Y

Respondent(s)

An NHS Trust and others

Appeal

Justices

Lady Hale, Lord Mance, Lord Wilson, Lord Hodge, Lady Black

Hearing start date

26 Feb 2018

Hearing finish date

27 Feb 2017

Watch hearing
26 Feb 2018 Morning session Afternoon session
27 Feb 2018 Morning session