Woman with hospital phobia forced to have surgery.

Sarah - posted on 05/28/2010 ( 5 moms have responded )





Doctors will be allowed to forcibly sedate the 55-year-old woman in her own home and transport her to hospital for surgery. She will then be operated on, despite having asked not to undergo surgery for her cancer, and could then be forced to remain on a hospital ward afterwards.
The case – only the second ever in the little-known Court of Protection to be made public - sparked an intense ethical and legal debate last night.

Experts questioned whether lawyers and doctors should be allowed to over-ride the wishes of patients and whether the use of force was ever justified in providing medical care.
The treatment of the woman was ordered by Sir Nicholas Wall, the President of the Family Division, after surgeons at her local hospital applied for permission to force the surgery upon her. They argued that without surgery upon her advanced cancer of the uterus she would die.
Sir Nicholas agreed to the request by the trust because the woman, who suffers from learning difficulties, was deemed incapable of making a rational decision for herself about whether to have the operation to remove her tumour. She had previously agreed to surgery, only to change her mind and repeatedly refused to turn up for medical appointments, claiming she has a phobia of hospitals and needles.

What do we think? Right or wrong to force the woman in question to have her life saving operation?

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Lucy - posted on 05/28/2010




My mum works in a residential home for adults with learning difficulties, and she thought that the right decision was made. Here in the UK there is, quite rightly, a lot of legal protection for adults with learning disabilities with regards to how they are cared for. As part of her regular work, mum has to know and apply "deprivation of liberties" guidelines ensuring that each of the residents has as much freedom to make their own choices, engage in activities they enjoy, be comfortable in their environment as possible, whilst remaining safe. Similarly, it takes quite a lot to assess and prove that someone is not fully equipped to make a reasonable decision regarding a life or death issue. The authorities will not have been allowed to make this decision on a whim.

Joanna - posted on 05/28/2010




It's a tough one. People in their right mind shouldn't be forced into those things, but with learning disabilities it's hard to know how right this woman's mind is. I know people with learning disabilities who can still make rational decisions, so it really depends on the severity of this woman's disabilities.

*Lisa* - posted on 05/28/2010




As dodgy as it sounds to force someone to have surgery, I agree with Sharon. The patient was deemed incapable of making a rational decision. If it had been someone who was in their right mind and able to make decisions, then that would be different. The doctors are just doing what is best for her.

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