GMC is right to appeal over life prolonging treatment

October 07, 2004

The General Medical Council, Britain's regulatory body for doctors, is right to appeal against a high court ruling that its current guidance on withholding and withdrawing life prolonging treatment is unlawful, says a professor of medical ethics in this week's BMJ.

The GMC's guidance was recently challenged by Mr Oliver Burke, a patient with a serious degenerative disorder who argued that it would allow doctors to withdraw artificial nutrition and hydration from him if he lost mental capacity. In July 2004, Mr Justice Munby ruled in Mr Burke's favour.

Emeritus Professor Raanan Gillon warns that, if not overturned, the judgement is likely to skew medical care by tilting the balance of medical practice towards non-beneficial and wasteful provision of life prolonging treatment in general and of artificial nutrition and hydration in particular.

He believes that the judgement itself extends far beyond this particular case and will inexorably lead to prioritisation of resources towards artificial nutrition and hydration and other life prolonging treatments for all legally incompetent patients who have not rejected them in advance.

"If it is not overturned, the ruling will delight vitalists, he says. "The rest of us - patients, doctors, and society in general - should be appalled by it. We should hope that the appeal court overturns the judgement," he concludes.


Related Judgement Articles from Brightsurf:

Harnessing the 'wisdom of crowds' can help combat antibiotic over prescription
A new study has demonstrated that using the 'wisdom of crowds' (also known as collective intelligence) of three or more medical prescribers, can improve decisions about antibiotic prescribing and help combat rising levels of antibiotic resistance.

Virtual Reality health appointments can help patients address eating disorders
Research from the University of Kent, the Research centre on Interactive Media, Smart systems and Emerging technologies -- RISE Ltd and the University of Cyprus has revealed that Virtual Reality (VR) technology can have significant impact on the validity of remote health appointments for those with eating disorders, through a process called Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy (VRET).

COVID-19 may have a longer incubation period, suggests probability analysis of Wuhan cases
By applying the renewal theory in probability to reduce recall bias in initial case reports, scientists have come up with a new estimate for the incubation period of COVID-19.

Food prices after a hard Brexit could increase by £50 per week
A hard Brexit could result in a family of four seeing their food prices increase to up to £50.98 per week researchers at the University of Warwick have found.

A study of economic compensation for victims of sexual violence in Europe
A study carried out by researchers from the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M) analyzes the efficiency of the Spanish system of economically compensating the victims of sexual violence.

What is an endangered species?
What makes for an endangered species classification isn't always obvious.

Mindfulness may reduce opioid cravings, study finds
People suffering from opioid addiction and chronic pain may have fewer cravings and less pain if they use both mindfulness techniques and medication for opioid dependence, according to Rutgers and other researchers.

Nicotine and caffeine withdrawal may lead to unnecessary suffering and testing in intensive care patients
Nicotine and caffeine withdrawal can cause unnecessary suffering to patients in intensive care units (ICUs), and could be leading to unneeded laboratory testing and diagnostic imaging such as X-rays and MRIs, according to a systematic review of clinical and observational studies involving 483 adults.

The glass half-full: How optimism can bias prognosis in serious illness
A new study in the journal Psycho-Oncology, details how a seriously ill patient's optimism can impact a clinician's survival prognosis in palliative care conversations, impacting end-of-life decision-making and potentially, quality of life in the end-of-life setting.

Minor sleep loss can put your job at risk
Just 16 minutes shaved off your regular sleep routine can dramatically impact job performance the next day.

Read More: Judgement News and Judgement Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to