‘Catch 22’ hospital case to go to Lords

A disabled patient who lost his battle with doctors over
withdrawing treatment, plans to take his case to the House of

Leslie Burke, 45, who suffers from a degenerative brain condition,
won a ruling last year supporting his right to receive nutrition
and liquid artificially.

The ruling found that General Medical Council guidelines gave
doctors too much power to decide whether the withdrawal of
treatment was in patients’ best interests.

But doctors argued that the ruling put them in an impossible
position and last week the High Court ruled in the GMC’s favour,
finding that Burke was already protected by existing laws.

The Disability Rights Commission said the new ruling had created a
“Catch 22 situation” for disabled patients by upholding their right
to request to continue living, while failing to clarify the rights
of patients once they lost the ability to make such a request.

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