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UK Court of Appeal Hears Tracey Case on Unilateral DNAR

In January, I blogged that the UK Court of Appeal agreed to hear the case of Tracey v. Cambridge University Addenbrooke Hospital.  This week, the court (Judges Dyson, Longmore, Ryder) is hearing arguments in the case.

The issue is not whether clinicians can “write” a DNAR order without patient or surrogate consent.  Rather, the issue is whether clinicians must at least “consult” with the patient or surrogate before writing a DNAR order.  (Guardian; BBC)  Specifically, at issue is whether clinicians must:

  • Notify the patient/surrogate
  • Involve the patient/surrogate and permit them to express their views
  • Permit the patient/surrogate to get a second opinion

More generally, the case also asks the Secretary of State for Health to develop a nationwide policy giving information to patients and families about when and how DNR decisions are made. 

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