Court of Appeal rules on Do Not Resuscitate orders

17 June 2014
The Court of Appeal has today ruled doctors must consult with and inform patients before placing a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order on their medical notes.

 The judgment makes law existing doctors' guidelines, which recommend consultation and involvement, and gives clarity to a sensitive subject which is raised at difficult times for patients, their families, carers and friends. The ruling follows a test case brought by the family of Hertfordshire woman, Janet Tracey, who were unhappy when a DNR notice was placed on her notes without consultation or discussion.

Claire Henry, chief executive of the National Council for Palliative Care, the lead charity of Dying Matters, commented: "We welcome the emphasis that the Court of Appeal has placed on involving people in decisions about their care. Although discussions on such sensitive issues are rarely easy, it is usually much better to involve and consult people than to exclude them for fear of causing upset.

"This ruling also underlines why we need a national conversation on dying, so that members of the public and healthcare professionals alike become more comfortable in talking openly about dying, death and bereavement and become better equipped to make difficult decisions about care and support at the end of life.”

More

Read the BBC news story on the test case.

Read the full judgement.

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