Mrs Jo Samanta

Job: Professor of Medical Law

Faculty: Business and Law

School/department: Leicester De Montfort Law School

Research group(s): Medical Law

Address: The Gateway, De Montfort University, Leicester, UK, LE1 9BH

T: + 44 (0)116 2577182

E: JSamanta@dmu.ac.uk

W: www.dmu.ac.uk/bal

 

Personal profile

Jo Samanta is Professor of Medical Law at Leicester De Montfort Law School. She has a wide range of research interests which include: end of life decision-making, regulation of the medical profession, and faith and ethnicity in health care law. She is the lead author of Medical Law – Palgrave Law Masters. This is a text that is rapidly gaining a prominent and key position amongst medical law textbooks at undergraduate and postgraduate level. The book has attracted laudable commendations by reviewers in both legal and medical journals.

She has published widely in peer reviewed academic legal and health care journals.  Her publications reflect her on-going research across professional boundaries that have typically involved innovative empirical projects.  She is Chair of the Business and Law Faculty Human Research Ethics Committee and has been an invited speaker at many national conferences.

She teaches medical law and ethics to undergraduate and postgraduate students and has previously taught at Leicester University and the Nottingham Law School. She has been a visiting lecturer to the Open University in Hong Kong. 

Publications and outputs 

 

  • The Vexed Question of Best Interests in Decisions Relating to Infants and Medical Futility
    The Vexed Question of Best Interests in Decisions Relating to Infants and Medical Futility Samanta, Jo Seemingly intractable disagreements between parents and doctors about the treatment of gravely ill infants are neither new, nor particularly unusual. In the clinical context, proposed courses of treatment are usually discussed and agreed between the clinical team and those with parental responsibility. For critically ill infants, where withdrawal of treatment is being considered, a multidisciplinary team meeting is usually held to decide on the most appropriate course of action in light of the child’s condition and prognosis. Multiple meetings may be necessary particularly where the child’s condition is unstable, or where the diagnosis or prognosis is in doubt. While the aim of these meetings is partly about reaching a consensus, this cannot always be achieved and recent high profile cases demonstrate very graphically the far reaching and damaging effects of fundamental disputes about withdrawal of treatment decisions based on medical futility.
  • Advance decisions, welfare attorneys and statements of wishes: The belt, braces and corset approach to advance care planning
    Advance decisions, welfare attorneys and statements of wishes: The belt, braces and corset approach to advance care planning Samanta, Jo Advance care planning is used by adults to express value-based preferences for informing future care and treatment decisions following their loss of decision-making capacity. It is a means for ascertaining previous preferences about types of care and treatment as well as wider concerns. In English law, advance care planning incorporates advance decisions to refuse treatment, statements of wishes and, more recently, the appointment of attorneys who act under the authority of a Lasting Power of Attorney for health and welfare. This article considers these mechanisms together with some of their merits and potential shortcomings. It also considers whether other approaches, such as advance consent, might be a useful addition. Ultimately, it argues that used in isolation the current options are insufficient on legal and pragmatic grounds, albeit for different reasons. For persons with a strong sense of their personal treatment and care preferences following their loss of decision-making capacity, a combined and synergistic approach is recommended. The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.
  • A Focus Group Content Analysis Study Exploring Cultural and Faith Based Values at End of Life
    A Focus Group Content Analysis Study Exploring Cultural and Faith Based Values at End of Life Samanta, Jo; Samanta, Ash This case explores the values that were considered to be centrally important by South Asian migrants at end of life. A qualitative approach was used with focus groups as the data collection tool. South Asians were selected as the population of choice since this is the largest minority ethnic group in Britain. This case considers the practical insights and challenges that were faced in recruiting participants from this hard-to-reach group. Content analysis was used on the transcripts, and the results revealed that in the context of end-of-life care respect for dignity and equality were seen to be centrally important.
  • Merry and McCall Smith’s Errors, Medicine and the Law
    Merry and McCall Smith’s Errors, Medicine and the Law Samanta, Jo; Samanta, Ash Several years ago Alan Merry and Alexander McCall Smith became deeply concerned by the fact that morally innocent persons could be convicted of manslaughter due to an event that did not involve moral culpability. This prompted their in-depth critique of the moral and legal basis for attributing blame in these circumstances within healthcare environments and culminated in the birth of Errors, Medicine and the Law. Sixteen years later, the book is now in its second edition, nearly twice its original length and with considerable development of its original format, as well as the addition of two new chapters. In the second edition, Merry and (now) Brookbanks retain their principal assertion that error is an unintentional act. Whether or not the consequent outcome is disastrous or otherwise, is separated by a fine line that is influenced by chance as well as a range of other circumstantial factors. Many of the errors in healthcare do not involve moral culpability. Yet apportioning blame on a specific individual can divert attention from bigger pictures of systemic failings and deficiencies. Thus, any toxic “environmental” predispositions to error can be missed, thereby reducing opportunities to develop safer environments by correcting weaknesses in the system for the protection of patients. The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.
  • A rights-based proposal for managing faith-based values and expectations of migrants at end of life illustrated by an empirical study involving South Asians in the UK
    A rights-based proposal for managing faith-based values and expectations of migrants at end of life illustrated by an empirical study involving South Asians in the UK Samanta, Jo; Mahdloom, Omar; Samanta, Ash International migration is an important issue for many high-income countries and is a situation that is accompanied by opportunities, as well as challenges. South Asians are the largest minority ethnic group in the United Kingdom and this diaspora is reflective of the growing diversity of British society. An empirical study was performed to ascertain the faith based values, beliefs, views and attitudes of participants in relation to their perception of issues pertaining to end-of-life care. Empirical observations from this study, as well as the extant knowledge-base from the literature, are used to support and contextualise our reflections against a socio-legal backdrop. We argue for accommodation of faith based values of migrants at end-of-life within normative structures of receiving countries. We posit the ethically relevant principles of inclusiveness, integration and embedment, for an innovative bioethical framework as a vehicle for accommodating faith based values and needs of migrants at end-of-life. These tenets work conjunctively, as well as individually, in respect of individual care, enabling processes and procedures, and ultimately for formulating policy and strategy. The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version.
  • Awake and (only just) aware? A typology, taxonomy and holistic framework for withdrawing clinically assisted nutrition and hydration in the minimally conscious state
    Awake and (only just) aware? A typology, taxonomy and holistic framework for withdrawing clinically assisted nutrition and hydration in the minimally conscious state Samanta, Jo; Samanta, Ash Decisions to withdraw clinically assisted nutrition and hydration (CANH) from people in the minimally conscious state are predicated on the question as to whether it is in the individual’s best interests to continue with CANH and determined traditionally using a “balance sheet” approach. The emerging case law in this area suggests that decisions may appear inconsistent and lack sufficient certainty and clarity of process. Using an analysis of statute, common law and academic commentary we articulate a typology for the elements that tend to engage in these decisions. Next, we construct a taxonomy of overarching legal and ethical issues and then proceed to develop a novel framework for holistic decision-making. We offer validation of this framework on the principle upon which it is grounded: coherent weighting of elements and theoretical proof of concept. The proposal has potentially far-reaching benefits that include consistency and transparency of decision-making, thereby enabling a more uniform judicial approach. We also suggest that this framework may form a foundational paradigm for decision-making by non-judicial bodies that may serve as a useful adjunct to the court. The benefits would include economy of time and resources, allowing the courts to focus on more complex cases. The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.
  • Understanding the decision-making environment for people in minimally conscious state
    Understanding the decision-making environment for people in minimally conscious state Yelden, Kudret; Sargent, Sarah; Samanta, Jo ABSTRACT Patients in Minimally Conscious States (MCS) show minimal, fluctuating but definitive signs of awareness of themselves and their environments. They may exhibit behaviors ranging from the ability to track objects or people with their eyes, to the making of simple choices which requires ability to recognize objects and follow simple commands. While patients with MCS have higher chances of further recovery than people in vegetative states, this is not guaranteed and their prognosis is fundamentally uncertain. Therefore, patients with MCS need regular input from healthcare professionals to monitor their progress (or non-progress); to address their needs for rehabilitation, for the provision of an appropriate environment and equipment. These requirements form a backdrop to the potentially huge variety of ethical-legal dilemmas that may be faced by their families, care-givers and ultimately, the courts. This paper analyses the decision-making environment for people with MCS using data obtained through four focus groups which included 29 senior decision makers in the area. The results of the focus group study are presented and further explored with attention on recurrent and strong themes such as lack of expertise, resource issues, and the families of people with MCS. The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.
  • A Grounded Theory Analysis of a Focus Group Study
    A Grounded Theory Analysis of a Focus Group Study Sargent, Sarah; Samanta, Jo; Yelden, Kudret Decisions about whether to reassess the clinical condition of patients in a minimally conscious state are a cornerstone of clinical care and management. The outcome of clinical reassessment determines whether efforts to rehabilitate should be escalated, maintained, or targeted more specifically to achieve optimal outcomes. The results of reassessment also underpin decisions to withhold or withdraw life-sustaining treatment from this patient group. Actual decisions about whether to reassess tend to be taken by members of multidisciplinary teams. For this reason, focus groups were chosen to ascertain the views and perceptions of senior decision-makers as to whether minimally conscious patients should have a fundamental “right” to be reassessed. Constructivist grounded theory was used to analyze the data. The results reveal that a range of factors will influence ...
  • Indigenous Rights: Changes and Challenges for the 21st Century
    Indigenous Rights: Changes and Challenges for the 21st Century Sargent, Sarah; Samanta, Jo Over 25 years in the making, the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is described by the UN as setting "an important standard for the treatment of indigenous peoples that will undoubtedly be a significant tool towards eliminating human rights violations against the planet's 370 million indigenous people and assisting them in combating discrimination and marginalisation." The concerns and sticking points were consistently over some key provisions of the Declaration, such as indigenous peoples' right to self-determination and the control over natural resources existing on indigenous peoples' traditional lands. The four member states that voted against were Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States - though all four have since moved to endorse the Declaration. These papers discuss and examine relevant intellectual property law, human rights, family law, international treaty law and international economic law.
  • Medical Law Concentrate. Revision guide
    Medical Law Concentrate. Revision guide Samanta, Jo; Samanta, Ash A medical law study and revision guide for law students looking for extra marks in their exams using clear, succinct coverage of the fundamental principles.


Click here
to see a full listing of Jo Samanta's publications and outputs.

Research interests/expertise

End of life issues

Faith and medical law

Medical regulation

Clinical governance

Medical ethics

Clinical decisions and incapacity

Empirical research 

Areas of teaching

Medical Law & Ethics:

LLB undergraduate

LLM Medical Law and Ethics: Termination of Life, Creation of Life

PhD Supervision

Qualifications

BA (Hons) Health Studies

LLM (Business Law)

PGCE

PGDL

General Nurse (Diploma) S. Africa    Midwife (Diploma) S. Africa      Community Health Nurse (Diploma) S. Africa    

Courses taught

Medical Law

Issues surrounding the termination of life

Issues surrounding the creation of life

Membership of external committees

Current member of the Midlands Healthcare Consortium 

Membership of professional associations and societies

The Higher Education Academy

SLSA

SLS (Representative for De Montfort University)

Professional licences and certificates

SRA: Non-practising solicitor

Conference attendance

  • “Clinical commissioning: Potential conflicts of interest” Workshop leader for LLR PCT, Highpoint, Leicester 3rd May 2012

  • “Palliative care: Ethical dilemmas” Conference presentation for Leicestershire partnership NHS Trust: Community Care Services:  28 March 2012.
  • “Lasting Powers of Attorney for Healthcare Decisions: Will it Make a Difference?  Paper given at International SLSA Annual Conference hosted by De Montfort University, Leicester.  8th April 2009.  

Current research students

  • Carol Bradbury (1st supervisor)
  • Helen Carr    (1st supervisor) 

Internally funded research project information

December 2008: ECRF to look at lawyers and healthcare professionals’ perceptions of proxy decision making by welfare attorneys. Culminated in a peer reviewed article Journal of Law and Society (2012) There’s Nothing New in Dying Now: Will Welfare Attorney Decision Making at End of Life Make a Real Difference? (pages 241–268). First published online: 8 MAY 2012

May 2008: Seedcorn funding applied for and granted. 

Professional esteem indicators

Referee for:

  • Legal Studies
  • Medical Law Review
  • Hodder publishing
  • Clinical Governance an International Journal
  • Contemporary Issues in Law
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