Mental Capacity Case

Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust v KD

Hayden J

The case of Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust v KD [2020] EWCOP 35 concerned a 57-year-old woman with paranoid schizophrenia who smoked around 60 cigarettes a day and whose collapsed right lung required 15-20 minutes of keyhole surgery to which she objected but without which she would die. Because of active persecutory delusions and anxiety, Hayden J determined that KD lacked capacity to decide whether to have the proposed treatment and that the procedure and aftercare was in her best interests. Moreover, his Lordship agreed with the Trust's decision that the case required an application to be brought to court, consistent with the Serious Medical Treatment Guidance [2020] EWCOP 2: it is not quite clear whether this was solely because the treatment would be against KD's wishes, or whether it was because the steps taken to enable surgery and recovery would go beyond restraint to a deprivation of liberty requiring judicial authorisation.