Medical Treatment of Children Facing Inevitable Death

23 FEB 2007

Robin Powell, Barrister, Tanfield Chambers, Member of the Ethics Committee of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health. The judgment of Holman J in the case of An NHS Trust v MB (A Child Represented by CAFCASS as Guardian Ad Litem) [2006] EWHC 507 (Fam), [2006] 2 FLR 319 raises the most profound issues of choice between life and death that a court is ever likely to have to consider. In doing so it reveals potential conflict in any decision reached by the court and the conscience of the treating doctor, and has raised concerns among paediatricians that they are now compelled to treat against their conscience. This article explores the conflict and concerns, and considers what options are open to doctors and parents in these difficult cases where a child is facing inevitable death. See February [2007] Fam Law for the full article.

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