Treating temporarily incompetent patients

BMJ 1995; 311 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.311.7009.876b (Published 30 September 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;311:876
  1. Robert Francis
  1. Queen's counsel London EC4Y 1BQ

    Competence cannot be determined by reasonableness of patient's decision

    EDITOR,--Part of the recent discussion of the two case histories concerning the treatment of temporarily incompetent patients must be questioned.1 As Petra Wilson suggests, the mental competence required by law for valid consent to or refusal of medical treatment is not clearly defined, but the judge in the case cited analysed the abilities required, which were to comprehend and retain information about treatment, to believe such information, and to weigh the information …

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