QC and lawyer secure landmark ruling at the Court of Appeal

A leading barrister at Kings Chambers has secured a landmark victory at the Court of Appeal in a case which asserts patient choice over medical paternalism.

Satinder Hunjan QC successfully represented Heather Butler in her case against Burton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust after a failure to induce her pregnancy resulted in her child being born with severe disabilities. Her son Sebastian suffered brain damage after his umbilical cord was compressed, starving him of oxygen in the days prior to his delivery. The court heard that had Ms Butler been induced Sebastian would have been born in an entirely normal condition but that it was the preference of her consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist that she should not be.

Speaking after the case, Mr Hunjan QC said

“The Court has established that we are in a modern era of age and consent – these cases have application in all areas of medical and related advice and consent. They set out the standards of advice which medical practitioners must give to patients to enable patients to make appropriate choices. The advice which is given must be clear, comprehensible, it must deal with the alternatives which are available to the patient and, importantly, the advice must be given dispassionately and without seeking to pressurise the patient to a particular course of medical treatment.”

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