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Woman’s Leg Amputated Against Her Wishes After CoP Ruling

August 1, 2015

A mentally-ill woman has had part of her leg amputated against her wishes in order to save her life, it has emerged.

Doctors said the woman, in her 60s, would die “very soon” from an infection unless her leg was removed above the knee.

Last Friday, the Court of Protection ruled Surrey & Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust could carry out the operation.

But it banned reports of its decision until surgery had taken place, in case the woman found out and was distressed.

Mr Justice Keehan said he was “concerned to say the least” about authorising amputation against a patient’s wishes.

‘Best interests’

But, he concluded, the woman had no “concept” of the risk to her life and said she “deserved the chance to live”.

The court heard the woman, who had “psychotic symptoms”, had an infection which was not responding to treatment.

Doctors said she did not have the mental capacity to make decisions about her treatment and did not understand the risk to her life.

Mungo Wenban-Smith, for the trust, argued amputation could prolong the woman’s life by 10 or more years.

Conrad Hallin, who was appointed on the woman’s behalf, agreed the amputation was in her best interests.

Mr Justice Keehan ruled: “I am completely satisfied that [the woman] lacks the capacity to make decisions because she suffers from a delusional disorder.

“It would appear she has no concept or understanding whatsoever that the alternative to surgery is that she will die within the next five to 10 days.”

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