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Why the BMA guidance on CANH is dangerous
  1. Rosemarie Anthony-Pillai
  1. Palliative Medicine, Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Rosemarie Anthony-Pillai, Palliative Care Consultant Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust, Harefield Hospital, Harefield UB9 6JH, Uk; roseap{at}

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This personal view draws attention to the lack of regard, given by the BMA in its new guidance, to the symptomatic benefit of clinically assisted nutrition and hydration (CANH) in patients who are not imminently dying. This article aims to identify how ignoring symptomatic benefit is a serious oversight and cause for concern given that this document, endorsed by the General Medical Council (GMC) and courts, is created with the purpose of providing a framework for best interests decision-making.

The new BMA guidance on CANH, which is endorsed by the GMC,1 follows up on the Supreme Court case of An NHS Trust v Y,2 that any removal of CANH from a patient in prolonged disorder of consciousness (PDOC) no longer requires the approval of the court unless there is disagreement or the decision is finely balanced. The decision in …

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  • Contributors This is the sole work of the author.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

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