"Withholding and Withdrawing of Life-Prolonging Treatment: The case of Oliver Leslie Burke- When and Who is Appropriate for Making Decisions?"
last update: 20151224
Withholding and Withdrawing of Life-Prolonging Treatment: The case of Oliver Leslie Burke- When and Who is Appropriate for Making Decisions?
Mr. Oliver Leslie Burke is a British man in his forties who has a progressive degenerative disease in the
central nervous system. He is aware that in the future he will likely lose his ability to communicate to
others and will require artificial measures in order to take nutrition and hydration. He enjoys his social life
and wishes to live untill death comes in a natural way.
In order to set out a framework within which doctors, patients, and their caretakers can work in
partnership to ensure that treatment and care is provided which meets the needs of the individual patient,
the GMC published a booklet, "Withholding and Withdrawing Life-prolonging treatments: Good Practice in
According to Mr. Burke?fs understanding, the guidance allows that when he becomes incompetent, doctors
may make decisions without seeking his will. Therefore, he sought a judicial review regarding whether the
guidance breaches his rights under Common Law and the European Convention for the Protection of
The aim of this paper is, first, to clarify the facts in order to form a base for discussion and, second, to
summarize the first legal judgment on this Case.
Keywords: Withholding and withdrawing life-sustaining treatment, Decision Making, Artificial Nutrition and Hydration (ANH) , GMC guidance, the European Convention for the Protection of Human