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JGM, Solicitor
Category: Scots Law
Satisfied Customers: 9977
Experience:  30 years as a practising solicitor.
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Edinburgh Hospital, UK. Are there laws in the UK with regard

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Edinburgh Hospital, UK. Are there laws in the UK with regard to Do Not Resuscitate if one is put on life support. And can the hospital decide whether or not, and when, to remove the patient from the ventilator?
Thank you for your question.

Is there a family?

Did the patient execute a Power of Attorney or is there a Guardianship Order from the court in effect?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

The patient is my son's father and my ex-husband. The patient also has a brother and sister here... we are in the U.S., he is in Edinburgh. He did not share with any of us if he had obtained a will, power-of-attorney, etc. He is on life support and we're being told by the girlfriend that he will be removed from life support "at the end of the week." When asked who made the decision to remove him, she told us it was the hospital's decision. Further complicating matter, I cannot get an expedited passport issued for my son without "proof of emergency." Yet we cannot get Edinburgh Hospital to give us information on his condition because of "confidentiality" reasons.

The decision to switch off life support is one made by the patient. If the the patient is incapable, as in the unfortunate case of your ex husband, then the hospital has to make the decision taking into account the wishes of the patient when he was of capacity if appropriate and/or the wishes of next of kin. In this case that would be your son if he is of age.

As far as consultation is concerned, Consulting with those close to the patient in these cases is not only good practice but is also likely to be a requirement of the Human Rights Act (Articles 8 – right to private and family life and 10 – right
to impart and receive information), and the Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000 section 9. Clinicians should ensure that those close to the patient, who have no legal authority, understand that their role is to help inform the decision-making process, rather than being the final decision-makers. Great care must be taken when people other
than the patient make or guide decisions that involve an element of quality-of-life assessment, because
there is a risk that health professionals or those close to the patient may see things from their own
perspective and allow their own views and wishes to influence their decision, rather than those of
the patient. These considerations should always be undertaken from the patient’s perspective. The
important factor is whether the patient would find the level of expected recovery acceptable, taking
into account the invasiveness of CPR and its low likelihood of success, not whether it would be
acceptable to the healthcare team or to those close to the patient, nor what they would want if
they were in the patient’s position.

I'm sorry you're in this position and am happy to discuss further.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you so much for your timely information, JGM. I wish I could send you a personal 'Thank You' card. You were of great help to me, my son here in California, his family to the north of us, and in many ways, his father in Scotland. Many thanks and best wishes to you.

My pleasure. Please don't forget to leave positive feedback on the system so that I am credited for my time otherwise the site keeps your money and I get nothing. There should be smiley faces for you to click.
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