Ms B and legal competence: examining the role of nurses in difficult ethico-legal decision-making

Nurs Crit Care. 2003 Mar-Apr;8(2):78-83. doi: 10.1046/j.1478-5153.2003.00012.x.


The case of Ms B throws up some interesting issues regarding the role of the nurse in assisting patients in making and implementing their decisions. The High Court transcript makes it clear who the voices with influence in legal matters were, and why the decisions they took were made. Absent from the myriad voices is that of the profession of nursing. Are nurses silenced by professional boundaries, the legal framework or lack of confidence? The concept of nursing advocacy is once again thrown into relief and critical questions need asking about the limits of professional nursing practice.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Legal Case

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Critical Care / ethics*
  • Critical Care / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Decision Making / ethics
  • England
  • Ethics, Medical
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Nurse's Role*
  • Patient Advocacy / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Personal Autonomy
  • Right to Die / ethics*
  • Right to Die / legislation & jurisprudence*