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Do-not-attempt cardiopulmonary resuscitation (DNACPR) notices and the law
  1. Martin Curtice1,
  2. Caroline Winkle2,
  3. Wasan Bajallan3
  1. 1Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust, UK
  2. 2Dudley and Walsall Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust, UK
  3. 3Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership Trust, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Martin Curtice, martin.curtice{at}hacw.nhs.uk

Abstract

The legal basis and principles for the application and use of do-not-attempt cardiopulmonary resuscitation (DNACPR) orders has been laid out in the Court of Appeal judgement in Tracey, R v Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust & Ors [2014a]. This case involved a 63-year-old woman, Mrs Tracey, who had been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer just before being seriously injured in a road-traffic accident. There was disagreement between the treating medical team and Mrs Tracey's family as to the imposition of a DNACPR order in her notes. This article analyses the Court of Appeal judgement in this case in relation to applying the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) to DNACPR decisions, specifically issues around Article 8 of the ECHR. In so doing, it makes clear the legal basis for DNACPR decisions and the important elements for clinicians to consider before placing DNACPR notices in patients’ notes. This case was pivotal in terms of the relevant professional bodies producing new guidance on DNACPR decisions.

  • Primary care

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