Regina (Burke) v General Medical Council: Admn 30 Jul 2004

The applicant, suffering a life threatening disease, wanted to ensure his continued treatment and revival in the circumstance of losing his own capacity. He said the respondent’s guidelines for doctors were discriminatory and failed to protect his human right to life. He sought judicial review of the guidelines.
Held: The rules were inadequate. Doctors were experts as to the medical interests of a patient, but such decisions involved wider considerations as to which doctors have no special expertise. Where a patient was competent or had provided an advance directive, his wishes could be followed. Otherwise a decision had to be made for him. There was a strong presumption in favour of prolonging life. A doctor accepting the care of a patient but disagreeing as to his treatment has a duty to continue care until other medical help is found. He had to act in the best interests of the patient including non-medical interests. The patient’s rights of personal autonomy, self-determination and dignity were protected under the Convention. Where non-medical issues arose, the doctor should refer the issue to a court.

Munby J
Times 06-Aug-2004, [2004] EWHC 1879 (Admin), [2004] 2 FLR 1121, [2005] 2 WLR 431, [2005] QB 424
European Convention on Human Rights 3 8
England and Wales
CitedAiredale NHS Trust v Bland HL 4-Feb-1993
Procedures on Withdrawal of Life Support Treatment
The patient had been severely injured in the Hillsborough disaster, and had come to be in a persistent vegetative state (PVS). The doctors sought permission to withdraw medical treatment. The Official Solicitor appealed against an order of the Court . .
CitedD v United Kingdom ECHR 1997
In the circumstances of the case, where the applicant was in the advanced stage of a terminal illness (AIDS), to implement a decision by the respondent to remove the appellant to St Kitts in the West Indies would be a violation of his rights under . .
CitedPretty v The United Kingdom ECHR 29-Apr-2002
Right to Life Did Not include Right to Death
The applicant was paralysed and suffered a degenerative condition. She wanted her husband to be allowed to assist her suicide by accompanying her to Switzerland. English law would not excuse such behaviour. She argued that the right to die is not . .
CitedNHS Trust A v H FD 17-May-2001
The two sets of guidelines on the meaning of and criteria for diagnosing ‘permanent vegetative state’ contained conflicts. Those issued by the Royal College of Physicians, and those issued in an International Working Party Report on Persistent . .
CitedIn re MB (Medical Treatment) CA 26-Mar-1997
The patient was due to deliver a child. A delivery by cesarean section was necessary, but the mother had a great fear of needles, and despite consenting to the operation, refused the necessary consent to anesthesia in any workable form.
Held: . .
CitedB (A Child); Re C (Welfare of Child: Immunisation) CA 30-Jul-2003
The father sought a specific issue order for the immunisation of his child in particular with the MMR vaccine. The mother opposed all immunisation.
Held: Whether a child was to be refused immunisation was an issue on which both parents should . .

Cited by:
CitedPortsmouth NHS Trust v Wyatt and others FD 7-Oct-2004
Charlotte Wyatt was born prematurely, and depended for day to day her life on medical support. Her doctors asked to be permitted not to resuscitate her again if she needed it. Her parents asked that she be given whatever chance was available for her . .
CitedIn Re Z (Local Authority: Duty) FD 3-Dec-2004
Mrs Z suffered a terminal disease, and sought to travel to Switzerland supported and assisted by her husband, so that she could terminate her life. She appealed an injunction obtained by the authority to prevent her leaving.
Held: The . .
Appeal fromBurke, Regina (on the Application of) v General Medical Council and others (Official Solicitor and others intervening) CA 28-Jul-2005
The claimant suffered a congenital degenerative brain condition inevitably resulting in a future need to receive nutrition and hydration by artificial means. He was concerned that a decision might be taken by medical practitioners responsible for . .
CitedWyatt and Another v Portsmouth Hospital NHS and Another CA 12-Oct-2005
The appellants’ daughter had been born with very severe disabilities. Her doctors obtained an order allowing them a discretion not to ventilate her to keep her alive if necessary. She had improved, but the family now sought leave to appeal an order . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Health, Human Rights

Updated: 23 December 2021; Ref: scu.199922