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‘Do Not Resuscitate’ order breached patient’s human rights

In the application of David Tracey (personally and on behalf of the estate of Janet Tracey (deceased) –v- Cambridge University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and others (2014) EWCA Civ 822

Janet Tracey was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer in February 2011.  Later that month she was taken to Addenbrooke hospital with a neck fracture sustained in a car accident.  She died in the hospital on 7th March 2011 after two ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ (DNR) orders were placed on her medical records without consultation. 

On 17th June the Court of Appeal of England and Wales handed down its judgment in the case.  In placing the DNR orders on Mrs Tracey without informing or consulting her, the Court held that the doctors acted unlawfully and in breach of her right to have her physical integrity and autonomy protected under Article 8 ECHR.

The judgment means that all NHS Trusts have a legal duty to consult with and inform patients if such an order is to be placed on medical records.

Click here to read an article by Leigh Day solicitors who acted for Mrs Tracey’s husband.  An article by the UK Human Rights Blog can be accessed here.

Medical Law, Right to Life