Court Sanctions Leg Amputation for Man Lacking Mental Capacity

24th April 2024 By

The courts are often called upon to sanction treatment for patients whose ability to make decisions for themselves is impaired. In a recent case on point, the Court of Protection had to decide whether it was in the best interests of a man with mental health issues to have his right leg amputated above the knee.

The man, aged 60, was taken to hospital by his niece. He was found to have an ulcerated leg. He had a history of paranoid schizophrenia, and believed that the sores on his leg were caused by Wi-Fi and lasers. At different times he had said that there was nothing wrong with his leg, that it was burned rather than anything more serious, and that he had not ruled out surgery but wanted more time to consider it. Medical staff were of the view that an above-knee amputation was necessary as soon as possible in order to prevent the infection spreading and save his life.

The Court first had to consider whether the man had the capacity under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 to make decisions about his care. It found that he was unable to understand his condition and the risks associated with it, and could not repeat information just given to him about his condition and treatment. As such, he lacked the capacity to make a reasoned decision.

The Court then had to decide what treatment was in the man’s best interests. Medical opinion was that an above-knee amputation was the only realistic option. He was expected to recover well from the operation, whereas he would be likely to suffer life-threatening sepsis if it did not go ahead. The man’s family supported the proposed amputation and he himself had expressed a wish to live. Although the operation would carry risks and might have a negative impact on his mental health, it was clearly in his best interests.

Source: Concious

Latest News

Award That Requires Borrowing Made Into Court Order

17th May, 2024 By

Disagreements between separating couples all too often result in litigation that substantially reduces the assets available to them, as was illustrated by a case that recently reached the High Court. At issue was whether awards made by arbitrators in financial remedy proceedings can be made into court orders even if that would require one of the parties to borrow money. The couple had previously had a relationship lasting a few years before resuming their relationship in 2015. They had two children before separating again in 2019. Following their separation, the...

Inheritance Disputes – Costs Risks Can Be Reduced

15th May, 2024 By

Arguments about what someone promised before their death can lead to significant legal costs. However, if faced with a claim against the estate, there may be steps the beneficiaries or executors can take to reduce the risks, as a recent High Court case illustrated. A man had left a farmhouse and agricultural land in Cornwall to his wife, with whom he had also jointly owned a neighbouring area of land. After his death, one of the couple's daughters and her husband claimed that he had told them he wanted them...

Share Rounding Error Does Not Prevent CGT Relief

13th May, 2024 By

There are often very specific rules that must be complied with in order to claim tax reliefs, but if a small mistake arises, the courts may be able to provide assistance. In a recent case, the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) found that an investor was entitled to Entrepreneurs' Relief on the disposal of his shares in a company, despite owning one share fewer than he needed to qualify for it. The investor had agreed to purchase 5 per cent of the shares in the company for £500,000. He wished to own...

Wife Entitled to Maintenance Until Sale of Family Home

10th May, 2024 By

When divorcing couples disagree on how assets should be divided, the courts will seek to arrive at a fair outcome for both parties. In deciding how the proceeds of sale of a former couple's home should be apportioned, the Family Court agreed with the wife that she should receive maintenance payments until the sale took place. The couple had married in 2006. Following a brief separation, they had reconciled for two years before finally separating in 2022. The husband and wife both contended that they should be entitled to about...