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Report No. 196

(31) Doncaster & Basset Law Hospitals NHS Trust & Anor v. C: (2004) EWHC 1657 (Sumner J) (12th July 2004)

This was an application by the NHS Trust in respect of an elderly lady C, for administering general anaesthetic to C against her wishes for purpose of an LT scan. This was necessary as a prior ultrasound scan revealed a suspected renal carcinoma. The Official Solicitor did not oppose the application.

C had a history of mental illness for 40 years also. She was in hospital number of times, she was reluctant for medication, had delusional beliefs. She considered that the ultrasound report was someone else's. Medical interventions, according to her, were a plot on her. Doctors considered this as mental illness, schizophremia etc. She was unable to weigh up the benefits and risks of treatment options.

The Judge, after referring to the objections of her counsel placed reliance on para 4(b) of the principles stated by Butler-Sloss LJ (as she then was) in Re: MB 1997 (2) FCR that inability of the patient to make a decision could be inferred "if the patient is unable to use the information and weigh it in the balance as part of the process of arriving at the decision". A compulsive disorder or phobia, as stated by Thorpe J in Re: C 1994 (2) FCR 151 from which the patient suffers, stifles belief in the information presented to her and then the decision may not be a true one. It was, therefore, in her interests to administer anaesthetic for a CT scan.



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