Judge allows force feeding of mentally competent patient

BMJ 1994; 309 doi: (Published 30 July 1994) Cite this as: BMJ 1994;309:291
  1. C Dyer

    The Mental Health Act 1983 allows detained patients to be treated against their will even if they are mentally competent to refuse treatment and the treatment is against their best interests, a High Court judge ruled last week. Mr Justice Thorpe granted Croydon Health Authority a declaration that it could force feed a 24 year old detained patient suffering from borderline personality disorder.

    The judge made the declaration despite deciding that the patient was competent to refuse treatment and that force feeding would not be in her best interests “unless and until her physical state was so debilitated as to threaten her survival.” He said that it was “disquieting” that the act legalised what the common law would not.

    Lawyers for the patient, named only as …

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