An NHS Foundation Trust v D

Judge: Macur J.

Citation: [2010] EWHC 2535

Summary: This case concerned the medical best interests of a woman D, with longstanding schizophrenia, who was suffering from a prolapsed uterus, but believed ‘that there is a conspiracy on the part of medical personnel to subjugate and experiment upon her, if not kill her’ and that her physical condition was a normal part of the aging process. The court was told that left untreated, it would severely restrict D’s everyday life and could prove fatal due to complications including kidney disease. However, the treatment required sedation, surgery and a period of recovery in hospital, and it was necessary for D to be sedated before, during and after the surgical intervention for there to be a realistic prospect of treatment being successfully delivered. Mrs Justice Macur accepted the unanimous expert evidence and concluded that it was in D’s best interests for the court to ‘sanction the deprivation of her liberty in so far as it is required to remove her to and retain her in hospital to conduct necessary medical investigations into and thereafter administer the appropriate treatment of her procidentia with all such necessary restraint, physical or chemical, to achieve the same -consistent so far as possible with maintaining D’s dignity throughout.’

Comment: The case was heard in public and there is an unsurprising contrast between the sensitivity of the judgment and the manner in which the ‘story’ was reported: the Daily Mail headline shrieked ‘Judge rules mentally ill woman can be sedated for SIX days so doctors can perform life-saving surgery she doesn’t want’.

CategoryBest interests - Medical treatment, Article 5 ECHR - Deprivation of liberty Date


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