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Schizophrenia patient, 69, forced to have hysterectomy

September 30, 2010


A pensioner diagnosed with schizophrenia is to be sedated for seven days against her will so doctors can treat her for a potentially life-threatening medical condition.

The 69-year-old woman, who can only be identified as D, has been under mental health service care for 25 years.

She is said to believe her condition is normal and does not require treatment.

The landmark High Court ruling means a mentally-ill woman is being forced to have a potentially life-saving hysterectomy against her wishes.

The woman is said to have a strong antipathy to medical staff and would not attend hospital voluntarily or co-operate with the operation, the High Court in London heard.

She is said to need the surgery to repair a prolapsed womb, which occurs after the menopause and involves the organ moving out of position.

Doctors argued that, if not treated, the condition would result in bladder infections, kidney failure and ultimately death.

Consultants from her local hospital had applied to the High Court's Court of Protection for permission to perform a hysterectomy to remove the womb.

Barrister Bridget Dolan, representing the woman, also supported the ruling.

She said that the treatment itself was clearly in patient D's best interests and that the court's intervention was needed in the unusual circumstances of the case.

Earlier this year a 55-year-old cancer patient was forced to undergo life-saving treatment against her wishes in a similar High Court case.

The woman had learning difficulties and had refused to have an operation to remove tumours in her uterus.

See also: Mental health law

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