Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust v Verden & Anor [2022] EWCOP 4

This was an application by Ms Amy McLennan to vary a Reporting Restriction Order made on the papers on 31st December 2021 by Cohen J.

Ms McLennan’s son, William Verden, aged 17, suffers from steroid resistant nephrotic syndrome. He is I n end stage renal failure and needs ongoing dialysis or a transplant to stay alive. William has diagnoses of moderate to severe learning difficulties, autism and ADHD with accompanying behavioural disturbances.

Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust has sought declarations in relation to William’s capacity and best interests regarding his treatment options. The Trust’s position in the substantive hearing (due to take place at the end of February) is that they oppose transplant for a series of reasons, essentially that William will require sedation and ventilation for possibly up to 6 weeks to ensure that he complies with the interventions post-operatively, and that the prospect of recurrence of the steroid resistant nephrotic syndrome is high, about 80%.

His mother opposes the Trust’s application. She relies on expert evidence which points more towards a 50% chance of recurrence and the same expert says that a transplant is a feasible option and gives to William a reasonable potential for a good long-term outcome.

Everyone agrees that a living kidney donor would be better suited to William’s needs as the transplant process can be planned and William better prepared psychologically for the operation. Ms McLennan is looking for an altruistic kidney donation from a member of the public, as none of the family are matches, or a volunteer donor for a chain of donation to take place.

The Trust’s application was issued on 23 December 2021 and, on 31 December, there were two agreed orders made on the papers. A reporting restriction order and a directions order.

In the Reporting Restrictions Order, an injunction was imposed with conditions that the following should not be identified: William, any member of his family, where William lives or is being cared for and the names of the Trust, hospital and clinicians treating William or giving second opinions.

Ms McLennan applied to vary the Reporting Restriction Order as she wished to launch a public appeal for a living kidney donor. Written and oral submissions were provided to the court and balanced with William’s Article 8 rights and the Article 10 rights which were apparent in this case. The application to amend the Reporting Restriction Order was duly successful.

The full judgement can be read here

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