Role of emotional capacity in consent should be clarified

BMJ 2002; 325 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.325.7371.1039/a (Published 02 November 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;325:1039
  1. Steve Moorhead, consultant in general psychiatry and cognitive therapy,
  2. Doug Turkington, senior lecturer in liaison psychiatry
  1. The Grange, Newcastle upon Tyne NE12 9PN
  2. Department of Psychiatry, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, Leazes Wing, Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 4LP

    EDITOR—Case law does not clearly distinguish between intellectual and emotional capacity. Sensky discussed the dilemma of withdrawing treatment but missed an opportunity to highlight the importance of emotional capacity in decision making.1

    What constitutes a mental disorder that impairs capacity, making someone unable to understand emotionally (as opposed to intellectually) the personal relevance of information and weigh it up? The judge's perspective cited by Sensky is this: refusal by a mentally competent person to give consent is an absolute right even if the reason …

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