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The Court of Appeal has ruled that Doctors have a legal duty to consult with and inform patients if they want to place a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order on the medical notes of the patient.

Doctors at a hospital in Cambridge have been found to act unlawfully where they failed to inform the patient or the family on the placing of a DNR.

Whilst guidelines are in place for Doctors to involve patients and families, the Court of Appeal has now made it a legal requirement to do so.

In his judgment, Lord Dyson comments that a DNR is a potential deprivation of life-saving treatment for a patient and, on that basis, there should be a presumption in favour of involving the patient.

In some circumstances, it may not be possible for the patient to be consulted due to their lack of mental capacity or being in a comatose state. However, if a Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare is prepared and registered by the patient in advance of this event arising, Doctors will be under a duty to consult with the named Attorney(s).


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