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Court approves sterilisation of man with learning difficulties

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: (Published 20 August 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f5208
  1. Mark Gould
  1. 1London

In a landmark ruling the Court of Protection has agreed that an NHS primary care trust can sterilise a man with profound learning difficulties to prevent him from having further children, because sterilisation was “in his best interests.”

The 37 year old, named only as DE and who lives in the Midlands, has an IQ of 40, which according to an assessment for the court by the independent psychiatrist David Milnes gives him a mental age of between 6 and 9 years. The man has limited speech, cannot use money, and lives with his parents.

DE and his girlfriend, PQ, who also has learning difficulties, had a child in 2010. PQ’s learning disabilities, although not as severe as DE’s, nevertheless meant that she was unable to look after her baby herself. As a result …

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