Reflections on Disability and Reproductive Justice in a court hearing

P’s awake while giving birth, adding layers of complexity to what could be considered P’s best interests because she raised the importance to her of bonding and the symbiotic relationship between mother and baby. To her, being awake and with her partner are fundamental to establishing that relationship. Without her ability to participate, how could the court have recognised this? 

C-section and general anaesthesia against her wishes? Capacity and best interests

Mr Justice Hayden is well-known (and celebrated) for his robust defence of autonomy and self-determination.  And yet in this instance I got the impression that, faced with a decision about a pregnant woman, his protective instincts had (temporarily) overwhelmed him. I am relieved that he adjourned the hearing rather than precipitously (in my view) declaring SM to lack capacity and making a premature decision about her best interests.

Capacity to refuse intensive care

Gaby Parker and Celia Kitzinger, 30th October 2021 A man in his 40s (PH) has bronchiectasis.  Last night his oxygen levels became seriously low (79%) and doctors raised with him the possibility of transfer to the intensive care unit, or to high dependency care. He refused to go.  He’s made it unambiguously clear that he’ll consent toContinue reading “Capacity to refuse intensive care”

A judicial U-turn? From ‘no contact’ to ‘main carer’

At an emergency hearing on 24th September 2021, His Honour Judge Tindal issued an injunction against Miss F preventing her from having any contact with Mr G (Case 13382192). At the hearing I attended on 21st October 2021, not only was the injunction made in September lifted, but the court encouraged Miss F to have as much contact with Mr G as possible.

Restrictions in his best interests? An “awkward interaction” between the Mental Capacity Act and sections 37 & 41 Mental Health Act

District Judge Glassbrook said that he recognised that there were only two options for RS: either he lived in X Home, or he returned to hospital.  “But I’m not talking about one placement compared with another. I’m asking why these restrictions are required.”  

Cataract surgery for a patient who’s refusing it

It can feel wrong to force someone to have medical treatment they say they don’t want.  It can also feel wrong to acquiesce to someone’s (non-capacitous) wishes, knowing that they will suffer and/or die as a result.

A trial of living at home – a “suspended sentence” of returning to care

By Jenny Kitzinger, 20th October 2021 Mr G desperately wants to live in his own flat – but this option is hanging by a thread.   After a series of court hearings at which he challenged his “detention” in residential care (via s.21A of the Mental Capacity Act 2015), he finally moved back into his ownContinue reading “A trial of living at home – a “suspended sentence” of returning to care”

A COVID Vaccination hearing: Observations of an aspiring medical student

By Eloise Crang, 19th October 2021 I’m a medical applicant, currently sitting my last year of A-levels studying Maths, Chemistry, and Biology, so I was delighted at the opportunity to observe a real-life medical ethics case in play. Having mainly read about these sorts of scenarios in medical books, or when revising for the situationalContinue reading “A COVID Vaccination hearing: Observations of an aspiring medical student”

When another assessment is not needed: Best interests decision-making for a patient with a prolonged disorder of consciousness

s going to be, what would he have decided? He was not going to decide that on the basis of a SMART score.”

What happens when Lasting Power of Attorney goes wrong?

“There had been a major family falling out between the LPA and her siblings. They saw her as “controlling”, “aggressive” and “paranoid” and said she had imposed unnecessary restrictions on their right to see their mother.” The judge said, ““I appreciate there’s a family dynamic, and it’s tragic to see it play out”.