Medico-legal Decisions

Withdrawing and withholding care are generally regarded as ethically equivalent.

Withdrawing or withholding treatment are regarded as ‘omissions’, not ‘acts’, and life-prolonging treatment may lawfully be withdrawn or withheld if deemed not in the patient’s best interests.

Likewise there is no legal obligation to give treatment if it is futile or deemed ‘burdensome’ to the individual patient. [16,17]

Further information can be found from the joint Guidance from the BMA, RCUK and RCN.