Not only inimical… but potentially fatal, an update

Further to the judgment in Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust & Anor v H [2020] EWCOP 5, discussed here, it has become clear that the delay in bringing the case had as serious consequences as Hayden J had feared, in a judgment reported as [2020] EWCOP 6.

When it was finally possible for investigations to be conducted by the surgeon, “he sadly concluded that, because it had become so much thicker and was now fixed to the underlying bone, the tumour was inoperable.”

Hayden J therefore had to decide what to do:

33. Mrs H has strong religious beliefs. My firm view is that she would have wished, were she capacitous, to explore all the options that may be available to her. She values life, manifestly, as a gift from God. The evidence points to her wishing to preserve that gift for as long as she can, notwithstanding that it may prolong the pain and discomfort that she is presently experiencing. On this point T [Mrs H’s daughter] tells me that she (T) has not been given sufficient information to “confront the new reality of the situation”.

34. T is to be invited not only to the multi-disciplinary team meeting, but also to the oncology meeting, so she may be informed properly about the options and helped to confront them.

35. When these meetings have been undertaken, the Trusts are to put together a care plan which will best meet Mrs H’s needs for the remainder of her life, however long or short that may be. When they have done so, this court will review it and evaluate whether it meets Mrs H’s best interests (see Aintree University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust v. James [2013] UKSC 67; Re D [2012] EWCOP 885; Salford Royal Foundation Trust v. Mrs P [2017] EWCOP 23). I have listed the case for review of the care plan for two reasons: firstly, because in my view the history of this case requires that it is monitored; and secondly, because T has requested that I overview the plan.

36. When the Trusts indicate that a plan has been finalised, the case will be given a listing as a priority.


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