Medicine And Books

The Right to Refuse Mental Health Treatment

BMJ 1997; 314 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.314.7092.1492 (Published 17 May 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;314:1492
  1. Elaine Murphy, chairman, City and Hackney Community Services Trust
  1. London

    Bruce J Winick / American Psychological Association, £47.95, pp 425 / ISBN 1 55798 369 0

    The right to make our own decisions, foolish or wise, is at the heart of the concept of liberty. The sanest people marry the wrong spouse, take up an unsuitable career, and engage in dangerous sports; while friends and relatives may fret and cajole, we recognise that adults ultimately take responsibility for their own decisions. Similarly, the law enshrines our belief that people have a right to make their own decisions about their health and to refuse medical treatment if they wish, regardless of whether doctors can show that the treatment will be efficacious. …

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