Clinical Review

Doing what's best and best interests

BMJ 2005; 330 doi: (Published 05 May 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:1069
  1. John McMillan, senior lecturer in medical ethics (
  1. 1 Hull York Medical School, Hull HU6 7RX
  1. Correspondence to: John McMillan

    This case raises several important moral considerations.1 Until fairly recently people with various kinds of disability were routinely sterilised without any regard for their wishes.2 This case is clearly different in that hysterectomy was proposed as a treatment for a medical problem and not merely as contraception. People with disabilities are often assumed to lack the decision making ability or competence required to make a treatment decision simply because they have a disability. Again, this case is different because Miss Webb took part in the decision making process and efforts were made to help her think through the implications of this surgery. It is important …

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