Limiting court involvement in end-of-life treatment decisions for children in England & Wales: advantages and limitations of a Specialist Committee deciding on futility.

Veronica Neefjes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Given the costs of litigation and distress for the parties involved, court cases about withdrawing life-sustaining medical treatment for children in England & Wales tend to be followed by discussion how to avoid future cases. Two proposals, mediation and the introduction of a harm threshold, have have been investigated as described above and seem unlikely to be able to limit court involvement.

Under TADA life-sustaining treatment may be withdrawn when a review committee finds it futile and no alternative healthcare provider can be identified. The investigation finds that installing a national specialist review committee modelled after TADA would have reduced the number of court cases in England & Wales to a handful over the last 3 decades. In addition to shorter procedures and costs savings, a national specialist review committee has advantages for both clinicians and parents. Advantages for clinicians are more limited exposure to delivery of clinical care that may cause moral distress and less exposure to adverse press and social media content associated with court procedures. Advantages for parents are that the process would establish them as ethical decision makers in their own right and offer the possibility of a transfer of care provided an alternative healthcare provider can be found. Given the advantages the feasibility of a replacement of the courts by a specialist review committee deserves further investigation.
Original languageEnglish
JournalClinical Ethics
Publication statusSubmitted - 2024

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Limiting court involvement in end-of-life treatment decisions for children in England & Wales: advantages and limitations of a Specialist Committee deciding on futility.'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this