Medical treatment consent - disputes & capacity

If there is any doubt as to whether a person is able to consent to medical treatment, for example due to a disability or vulnerability, then a mental capacity assessment must be undertaken before any treatment decision can be made.

If a person lacks capacity to make decisions about their medical treatment, a best interests meeting must be held with professionals and family members to try and agree on what is in the person’s best interests.

Disputes about whether a certain medical treatment is in a person’s best interests may arise between family members and medical professionals and in the event of a dispute, an application must be made to the Court of Protection for the court to decide what is in their best interests. The Court of Protection is also able to hear urgent cases where a treatment decision is required due to the circumstances of the case.

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Cases where an application must be made to the Court of Protection

  • Withholding or withdrawal of artificial nutrition and hydration (ANH) from patients in a permanent vegetative state (PVS)
  • Cases involving organ and bone marrow donation by a person lacking capacity to consent
  • Cases involving the proposed non-therapeutic sterilisation of a person who lacks capacity (e.g. for contraceptive purposes)

Disputes in relation to medical treatment are very important decisions, as these decisions can have huge health consequences. Disputes can range from medical treatment challenges, to end of life decisions and decisions to withdraw life sustaining treatment.

For example, you may feel that treatment is being given to you against your wishes or there may be a dispute in relation to whether medical treatment should be given to a family member.

Our specialist team are able to offer advice, guidance and representation through the process, ensuring that any action taken is lawful. We offer services across the UK. For advice call us on 0175 321 5096 or complete our online enquiry form, legal aid is available subject to eligibility. 

Medical treatment disputes and withdrawal of life sustaining treatment 

Where an individual is assessed to lack mental capacity to consent to medical treatment, disputes may arise between medical professionals and family members and friends as to whether a certain treatment or course of action is in the individual’s best interests.

In the circumstances of a dispute or disagreement in relation to the provision of, continuation of or withdrawal of medical treatment, an application must be made to the Court of Protection to decide which course of action is in the individual’s best interests, before any action is taken.

It is extremely important that the correct processes and procedures are followed in these types of cases, as the decisions can have significant consequences. Decisions range from challenges to proposed medical treatment, to end of life decisions and decisions to withdraw life sustaining treatment. The court can also hear urgent cases where a decision is required in an emergency/urgent situation.

We have extensive knowledge and offer specialist legal services in this area, with our expert solicitors providing advice, guidance and representation through the process. We offer services nationally and legal aid is available subject to eligibility. For more information, call us on 0175 321 5096 or complete our online enquiry form.

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