Best interests: the medical issues; update to main text para 3.26, page 80
A doctor cannot be compelled to treat someone. A court can only consent to treatment to which the patient themselves could have consented. Subject to an administrative court challenge, the court cannot compel a Trust to offer a different treatment to a patient, even if the court concludes such a treatment would be the best option for the patient. The Supreme Court in Aintree University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust v James stated that:
Update to main text para 13.19, page 416:
In a fascinating speech, ‘A Matter of Life and Death’, given at Oxford on 11 October 2016, Baker J addressed the courts’ current approach to whether or not to permit withdrawal of clinically assisted artificial nutrition and hydration from a patient in a prolonged disorder of consciousness.
Update to main text para 13.11, page 399
Mr Briggs was agreed to be in a minimally conscious state; he was clinically stable and not in need of any invasive treatment. His treating team believed that he should be moved to a rehabilitation centre, where he could be monitored and potentially progress to a higher level of consciousness. His family felt that he should be transferred to a hospice, no longer provided with CANH, and allowed to die as peacefully and painlessly as possible.
Update to para 6.129, page 221: Conclusion and Future Legislation
The Law Commission published its final Report on Mental Capacity and Deprivation of Liberty on 13 March 2017, along with a draft Bill. The full report is available here and a summary of the Law Commission’s conclusions are set out below. As anticipated, the Law Commission focus was on creating a more workable process, whilst placing P at the heart of decision making.
Update to main text para 13.11, page 399: Withdrawal of treatment in MCS
Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Local Health Board v RY & CP  EWHC 3256 (Fam)
Decided only months after Briggs and Baker J’s Oxford speech (see main text at para 13.13.), this unsuccessful application for withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment (namely, deep suctioning to keep patent a tracheostomy tube and thus RY’s air way) is the near mirror image of Briggs in factual terms. It is also a salutary illustration of the almost unique challenge MCS poses to those evaluating the burdens and benefits of life-sustaining treatment, given our very limited understanding of the life experienced by a patient in a prolonged disorder of consciousness.