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NHS trust given permission to proceed with surgery

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The Court of Protection recently ruled that an urgent medical procedure should be carried out on a woman with mental health issues.

The court had been asked to consider the case of a patient who is suffering with depression and a mild form of psychosis.

She had previously been detained at a hospital in the Midlands region, using powers available under the Mental Health Act.

A few weeks ago, the woman had tried to take her own life and suffered a number of injuries in the attempt.

She refused medical treatment at the time which resulted in a shoulder injury which she had sustained not healing properly.

A fractured bone had later protruded through the skin and medical experts feared that the injury could ultimately cause an infection. This in turn could lead to amputation or might even, in the most serious circumstances, prove life-threatening.

Doctors were worried that the woman would refuse permission for her injury to be treated and had applied to the Court of Protection to seek approval to proceed without her consent, aware that the deprivation of liberty would overreach the provisions made by the Mental Health Act.

Having considered the evidence, Mr Justice Jackson concluded that the surgery was clearly in the patient’s best interests and gave permission to the NHS trust.

In the written judgement that followed, he said: “The trust has subsequently confirmed that the operation took place the following morning, and had gone as expected with no problems.

“[The woman] went to theatre very passively, with no restraint or sedation. She is currently on intravenous antibiotics, as it appears that the fracture has indeed become infected.”

At Lester Morrill, our specialist Court of Protection solicitors are experienced in working with vulnerable individuals and their families, friends and care teams to ensure the best possible outcome. We currently manage cases involving private clients, solicitors, local authorities, referrals from the court and case managers. We also advise on matters relating to health and welfare, receiving referrals from family members and advocates. Please contact our team for further information.

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