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Judge allows ‘do not resuscitate’ order for 20 year old with cerebral palsy

A judge in the Court of Protection has approved a “do not resuscitate” order for a 20 year old woman with cerebral palsy.

In Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust v CD & Ors, the woman, identified as ‘AB’ in the judgment, was admitted to hospital and diagnosed with pneumonia.

AB’s condition deteriorated so she was taken to the intensive care unit. In the event that her condition deteriorated further, the hospital applied to the Court of Protection for permission to withhold certain kinds of treatment.

The doctors said that should AB get worse, the measures they would have to take to keep her alive would not be in her best interests due to their “invasive” nature.

AB gradually improved, but the doctors warned that sudden deterioration was likely and held on to the assessment that resuscitating her would not be in her best interests.

The parents, who had been AB’s primary carers, agreed with the assessment of the doctors.

Sitting in the Royal Courts of Justice in London, Mrs Justice Theis said she was “entirely clear” that approving the hospital’s application was the right decision as all the evidence “pointed in one direction on this issue, in support of the order being made”.

The judge concluded that AB’s parents had “conducted themselves with great dignity in what was clearly a very distressing situation for them” and paid tribute to the “remarkable care” they give her.

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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