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Andrew D.P. Scott
Andrew D.P. Scott, Barrister
Category: UK Law
Satisfied Customers: 88
Experience:  LLB(Hons) 1st Class, Gray's Inn Master Bedingfield Scholar, BVC Very Competent, Public Access Rights
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Hi, In June 2008, my father took out a Lasting Power of

Resolved Question:

Hi,

In June 2008, my father took out a Lasting Power of Attorney, enabling my husband and I to act jointly and independently on his behalf in the event that he was no longer mentally competent.He had recently suffered a stroke, which left him partially sighted and suffering from short-term memory loss and was very keen that, in the event of any further illness or incident, he should not be resucitated, nor should his life be prolonged. He specifically requested that we should be permitted to consent to or refuse life sustaining treatment on his behalf and asked us (in front of his solicitor) to 'let him die' if circumstances ever permitted it.

In recent months, Dad's condition deteriorated appreciably and it was decided that he needed to move into residential care, mainly because he is an insulin dependent diabetic and was not managing to give his own daily injections. He gradually became more and more physivcally and mentally frail , saying every day that he wanted to die.

Three weeks ago, he began to have difficulty breathing and begged us to help him die. The care home twice called in the doctor but Dad refused to be examined or treated and, as a result, was rushed to hospital as an emergency with double pneumonia and renal failure.

My husband and I were called to the hospital, at which time dad was semi-conscious, rambling and on the verge of death. We took with us the power of attorney and agreed with Dad's doctor that he should be kept comfortable and allowed to die. Having said our goodbyes we left the hospital, only to be informed by telephone four hours later that Dad had been transferred to another ward and had been given antibiotics. Since then, Dad's every symptom has been actively treated - not just for the purpose of keeping him comfortable but with the aim of 'curing' him.

Two and a half weeks later, the hospital have managed to pull him from the jaws of death. We are left with an 87 year- old man who is now totally dependent on oxygen, is suffering from fits and, in his very few lucid moments, is screaming at my husband and I for not letting him die. He is unable to walk and will not be able to go back to his care home but will have to go to a nursing home for palliative care, as he is now suffering from severe heart failure and is unlikely to live for long. Because he keeps insisting that he wants to die, the doctors have determined that he is 'clinically depressed' and have put him on anti-depressants.

My husband and I are both distraught and furious - what can we do, if anything?

Many thanks,

Nikki
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: UK Law
Expert:  Andrew D.P. Scott replied 3 years ago.
Hello, I am pleased to be asked to assist you.
Hi, this is a tragic situation.
Get hold of the hospital complaints procedure, follow it to the letter.
In bald terms state that you have lasting power of attorney and want an explanation as to why the treatment plan was changed.
I am sure that the hospital will say that they are under a duty to act in thebest interests of the patient.
If your father provided a living will with a treatment directive in it provide a copy to the hospital.
You should speak with your solicitor reference to Assault on your father.
It may be that if in the face of an advance treatment directive from your father that in giving him treatment against his express wishes that the staff have committed an assault, for which your father's legal estate can receive compensation and an order made that the hospital must not ignore the advance directive again otherwise someone will be punished for contempt of court.
It may well be that if the hospital staff disagree with your decision on best interests and your order for no lif saviing treatment, that they will initiate legal proceedings to a court to determine who is in the right here.
Regards
Andrew
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Andrew

 

Thanks for your advice.

 

We have so far hesitated to put in a formal complaint as Dad is still in hospital and we wondered if it would adversely affect his treatment. We did complain verbally to the consultant in overall charge of his case and received a surprising response.

 

We saw Dad immediately before he was initially started on antibiotic treatment, at which time he was barely conscious and rambling. (That was at 1.00 pm.) at 5.30 pm we received a telephone call to say that he had been started on antibiotics, against our express instructions. We were told that a junior doctor claimed to have had a RATIONAL conversation with Dad during which he specifically asked to be given antibiotics.

 

We fully accept that, even after creating and LPA, Dad has every right to change his mind. That said, my husband and I sincerely XXXXX XXXXX we are acting in accordance with his wishes and can't believe that this rational conversation ever took place, particularly as both before and since, Dad has been judged by the hospital staff not to be mentally competent to make his own decisions. We're stuck with an 'our word against theirs situation'.

 

We have no real interest in compensation, by the way. Our only angle on this is that we have failed to carry out Dad's express wishes and thus condemned him to however long he might have left to live in his own personal living hell.

 

Kind regards,

Nikki

Expert:  Andrew D.P. Scott replied 3 years ago.
You have not.
But the Jnr dr shoud be called to demonstrate how he assessed your dad.
Regards
Andrew
I should be grateful if you would press the accept button and fill in the feedback section.
Andrew D.P. Scott, Barrister
Category: UK Law
Satisfied Customers: 88
Experience: LLB(Hons) 1st Class, Gray's Inn Master Bedingfield Scholar, BVC Very Competent, Public Access Rights
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