Doctors may proceed with surgery on schizophrenic, court rules

Family Law|May 5th 2016

Doctors may proceed with surgery on a mentally ill woman suffering from cancer, a court has ruled.

The unnamed woman, in her 30s, has paranoid schizophrenia. She had expressed an interest in having a child and refused a potentially life-saving hysterectomy after an additional diagnosis of ovarian cancer.

The NHS Trust treating the woman applied to the Court of Protection, which makes rulings on behalf of vulnerable people with a diminished ability to make decisions about their own welfare due to illness or disability.

A QC for the hospital explained:

“She was admitted to hospital … for surgery but declined it, which has necessitated this application to the court. Without surgical treatment her life expectancy – assuming the diagnosis of ovarian cancer is correct, the probability is at least 80 per cent – is approximately six months. If she has surgery she has the chance of a cure, and likely survival of at least three to five years.”

Mr Justice MacDonald said he was satisfied that the woman lacked the capacity to make her own decisions. The surgery was in her best interests, he declared, and should proceed. The woman could not be named.

Following the surgery, at an unidentified hospital in the east of England, the woman is expected to return to a mental health unit.

A written ruling has not yet been published.

Photo credit: Look into my eyes

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