Urgency, Delayed Decision-making and Ethics in the Court of Protection

By Dominic Wilkinson. [Cross post from the Practical Ethics blog] On 11th June 2021,  I was a public observer (via MS Teams) of a case in the Court of Protection: Case No. 1375980T Re GU (also blogged about by Jenny Kitzinger here). The case was (though I did not know it beforehand) related closely to issues that I […]

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Is medico-legal paternalism still rife in UK paediatric best interest decisions?

By Michal Pruski. The UK case of Alta Fixsler is reigniting the debate on paediatric best interest decisions in the case of end of life considerations. The two-year old’s Jewish parents want her to be transferred to Israel to be taken care of by clinicians sharing their religious and moral outlooks. Meanwhile the NHS trust […]

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Supreme Court rules on the first prosecution of a Dutch doctor since the euthanasia act

Eva C.A. Asscher and Suzanne van de Vathorst. On April 21st the Supreme Court passed judgement on the case of the first doctor to be prosecuted since the 2002 Termination of Life on Request and Assisted Suicide (Review Procedures) Act. In September 2019 a Dutch nursing home doctor performing euthanasia on a patient with severe […]

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Can survival be a harm? The German Federal Court of Justice rules on a claim for damages after life-sustaining treatment

Ulrich Pfeifer and Ruth Horn. Should it be permissible to convict a doctor who has performed life-sustaining treatment (LST) without medical indication? At first sight, the answer seems obvious: a medical intervention is only lawful if there is 1) valid consent and 2) a medical necessity that is medical indication. In the absence of either […]

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Stay in Your Lane: On the National Rifle Association’s Response to Physicians’ Support for a Public Health Approach to Firearms-Related Violence

By Christian Chartier and Philippe April. On July 21st, 2018, the American College of Physicians’ (ACP) Board of Regents approved a policy paper commissioned to reiterate the ACP’s support for a public health approach to firearms-related violence. On November 7th, eight days after the article’s eventual publication, the National Rifle Association (NRA) issued a reply […]

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Convicting a doctor of gross negligence manslaughter without striking them off damages public confidence in the profession

By Nathan Hodson. In June 2017 The Medical Practitioner Tribunal Service (MPTS) suspended Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba from the medical register for 12 months. Following a GMC appeal to the High Court, the MPTS was found to have erred in failing to erase Dr Bawa-Garba. Yet, in July of that year, the Court of Appeal decided […]

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When should a doctor’s behaviour be criminal?

By Suzanne Ost Two recent, controversial cases involving doctors and the criminal law have caught my attention because they could challenge our perceptions about when it is appropriate to criminalise doctors’ behaviour. We use the criminal law to hold people to account when they commit the most serious wrongs. The State acts in the name […]

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Gross negligence manslaughter and doctors

By Jo Samanta and Ash Samanta The recent prosecution of a doctor for gross negligence manslaughter has led to grave concerns particularly among medical professionals.  The circumstances concerned the tragic death of a six-year-old child, who had been admitted to hospital. On the facts of the case Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba was charged with gross negligence […]

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WORKSHOP | Cryonic Preservation: Ethical and Legal Questions

Wellcome Collection, London, 6th October 2018 “Cryonic preservation” (or “cryopreservation”) names a technique whereby a person currently suffering from a terminal illness has their body frozen for an indefinitely long period of time, in the hope that, once medical technology has advanced sufficiently, it will be possible for them to be revived and cured. In November […]

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The Williams Review: Unlikely to reassure doctors concerned about gross negligence manslaughter law

Guest Author: Nathan Hodson, Foundation Doctor, University Hospitals of Leicester. A rapid policy review of medical gross negligence manslaughter was announced by Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Jeremy Hunt, in February 2018. Last week, barely four months later, Professor Sir Norman Williams delivered the report. Its remit was limited to investigating the […]

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