The patient in this Court of Protection case, a 50 year old mother of three, had unsuccessfully attempted suicide by taking a paracetamol overdose; she suffered severe kidney failure and relied on dialysis to stay alive. After 8 weeks’ she refused further treatment. On the Trust’s application for a declaration that she should have dialysis forcibly, if necessary, the Court had to determine whether she had capacity to refuse. Finding that she did, the Court reaffirmed her Article 8 right to self-determination.
Mr Justice MacDonald said:
“That she considers… the fear that she has lost, and will not regain, ‘her sparkle’ outweighs a prognosis that signals continued life will alarm and possibly horrify many.
“Her decision is certainly one that does not accord with the expectations of many in society.
“Indeed, others in society may consider her decision to be unreasonable, illogical or even immoral within the context of the sanctity accorded to life by society in general.
“None of this, however, is evidence of a lack of capacity.”
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