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Report No. 196

(16) Re D (Medical Treatment), 1998(2) FLR 1.- (Sir Stephen Brown J) (26 th September, 1997)

The defendant, a man of 49 years, suffered from long-standing psychiatric illness and had spent a very large part of his life in and out of psychiatric hospitals. He suffered from chronic renal failure and required dialysis three/four times a week but his mental condition made it impossible for him to give the necessary co-operation for that treatment.

The hospital authorities applied to the Court for a declaration that it would be lawful for the Trust not to impose haemodialysis in circumstances in which, according to medical opinion, it was not reasonably practical to do so as the patient was not co-operating. The official Solicitor represented the patient, obtained a doctor's opinion that in the context of the patient not being capable and not cooperative, the doctors should be protected if dialysis became impossible to be conducted.

The Court accepted the application and gave declaration that, 'notwithstanding the defendant's inability to consent to or refuse medical treatment, it is lawful as being in the best interests of the patient that the plaintiff hospital does not impose haemodialysis upon him in the circumstances in which, in the opinion of the medical practitioners responsible for such treatment, it is not reasonably practical to do so'.



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