Why do we need to distinguish ‘valid’ and ‘informed’ consent to medical treatment?

By Emma Cave. Common law and ethics require that consent is voluntary, that it is made by a person with capacity and that it is sufficiently informed. But it does not follow that consent that is insufficiently informed will necessarily be considered in law to be invalid. Since Montgomery in 2015, the requirement of informed […]

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Refusal redux: Revisiting debate about adolescent refusal of treatment

By Dominic Wilkinson. Last month, in an emergency hearing, the High court in London heard a case that characterises a familiar problem in medical ethics. A 15 year old adolescent (known as ‘X’) with a long-standing medical condition, sickle cell disease, had a very low blood count and required an urgent blood transfusion. However, X […]

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Patents, private governance and access to vaccines and treatments for Covid-19

By Aisling McMahon Recent moves such as by the United States and United Kingdom to negotiate deals to access large quantities of vaccines/medicines for Covid-19 within their territories raise serious questions around access to healthcare and global equitable distribution. Such attempts to secure preferential access, although understandable within the national context, can jeopardise supplies of […]

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Can Welfare Powers of Attorney in Scotland refuse medical treatment on the granter’s behalf?

By Amanda Ward There is ambiguity to what extent Welfare Powers of Attorney (WPA) in Scotland can refuse or withhold consent to medical treatment. The primary legislation to be consulted is the Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000 (AWIA). A welfare power of attorney relates to decision making in relation to the granter’s personal and […]

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COVID-19 and health workers’ rights in Africa: the duty to treat or not to treat?

By Adaeze Aniodoh “The public’s and the health workers’ concerns are not mutually exclusive; the goal is safety and fairness for all. Patients have a right to be protected. Health workers also have rights, and when infected they become patients.” Recently the world has come to shock as the World Health Organisation declared COVID-19 ‘a […]

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Supreme Court rules on the first prosecution of a Dutch doctor since the euthanasia act

Eva C.A. Asscher and Suzanne van de Vathorst. On April 21st the Supreme Court passed judgement on the case of the first doctor to be prosecuted since the 2002 Termination of Life on Request and Assisted Suicide (Review Procedures) Act. In September 2019 a Dutch nursing home doctor performing euthanasia on a patient with severe […]

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DNACPRs and advance care planning in the COVID19 pandemic: key lessons

By Catriona McMillan and Victoria Sobolewska  Patient-doctor discussions surrounding do not attempt cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (DNACPR) orders amidst the COVID-19 pandemic have caused widespread, understandable panic in the UK, set against a backdrop of proportionately higher elderly deaths, discussions surrounding resource allocation (particularly with reference to ventilators), and emerging stories of rising care home deaths. Here, […]

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