Court Rules Suicidal Woman Mentally Capable to Refuse Medical Treatment
In a groundbreaking case before the Court of Protection this month a 50 year old woman has been found to be mentally capable to decide to refuse medical treatment. An 8-hour hearing took place on Friday 13th November because the hospital where the 50 year old was being treated asked for a ruling that it would be in her best interests for treatment to be imposed on her – and for restraint and sedation to be used if necessary. It was argued that she had a ‘dysfunction of the mind’ which made her unable to make decisions about treatment. She had damaged her kidneys when taking a drug overdose in a failed suicide bid and was refusing dialysis.
However the judge was not satisfied that the specialists had proved that the woman lacked mental capacity to decide to refuse dialysis.
The woman’s daughter said that she thought her mother had made a “horrible” decision and that no one in the family wanted her to die. But she argued, on her mother’s behalf, that she understood what she was doing and was mentally capable of making her own decision. The 50-year old had had a difficult life including failed marriages and financial difficulties. Her daughter told the judge, “She kept saying that she doesn’t want to live without her sparkle and she thinks she has lost her sparkle.”
Solicitor, Sarah Young, commented:-
“The Mental Capacity Act 2005 makes it very clear that the Court of Protection has no role to play if someone has mental capacity to make their own decision. That is the case even if the decision is one that most people might disagree with. It must have been deeply traumatic for this woman’s daughter to tell a judge that she thought that her mother was mentally capable of making a decision that would result in her death, but she obviously felt that that was the right thing to do.”
For further information please contact Sarah at Ridley & Hall, Queens House, 35 Market Street, Huddersfield, HD1 2HL on her direct dial 01484 558838 or her mobile 07860 165850.
Ridley & Hall’s Court of Protection team can provide advice if you are concerned that a relative is being unlawfully deprived of their liberty. If a decision has already been made and you are unhappy with it you may be able to challenge the decision. See our website for more information or contact us on 01484 538421.