Doctors take on 20-year-old woman's parents in CPR debate

Sandwell | News | Published:

A 20-year-old woman fighting for her life in a Midlands hospital will have her fate decided by the Court of Protection after doctors claimed she should be allowed to die.

The woman, who cannot be named, suffers from a host of problems including a severe learning disability, severe cerebral palsy and severe curvature of the spine.

Known only as AB, she also has type 2 diabetes, epilepsy and recurrent respiratory tract infections.

Currently in a critical care unit run by Sandwell & West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust, her doctors believe she should not be given cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

The woman's parents do not support the withdrawal of treatment, a judge has heard.

Medics believe it is not 'in the best interests' of AB to give her invasive ventilation, CPR or inotropes and renal support therapy, should the need arise.

Sandwell & West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust have therefore asked the Court of Protection to rule on the matter.

Yesterday, Mrs Justice Theis was given an outline of the case at a preliminary hearing at the Court of Protection, where judges analyse cases involving sick and vulnerable people, in London.

She ordered the woman to be kept in a critical care unit until the court had received all the information and for her not to be identified.


But she said the health trust with responsibility for the woman's care could be named.

She said: "The order that I made on Friday will continue…and the matter will be adjourned to 14 July when the court will be able to then consider, on an inter-party basis, with the benefit of a second opinion, the application made by the trust authority."

Mungo Wenban-Smith, for Sandwell & West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust, said: "She has been in quite a fluid presentation in recent days and weeks and, in my submission, it is important that the court and the parties now what the situation is today."

Later, a doctor later told the court via telephone that AB 'continues to make good progress'.


A full hearing to decide the matter will be heard on 14 July.

Details of the case were disclosed under new legal rules demanding greater openness from cases at the Court of Protection.

Sir James Munby, president of the family division of the high court and of the court of protection, instructed judges to give more transparency on such cases dealt with by the court.

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