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Consent to medical treatment and people with learning disability

  • Jenny Curran (a1) and Sheila Hollins (a2)
Extract

For those people who have the cognitive and social impairments described as a learning disability, personal choice is more often than not a limited experience, (Mencap, 1989). Simple choices may be usurped by the preferences of carers, and more serious decisions may be correctly or incorrectly deemed beyond their capacity. We will address two questions which repeatedly face clinicians working with adults with learning disabilities. First, how do we ascertain a person's level of competence to give consent in relation to medical treatment? Second, in the case where a person with learning disability is considered unable to give informed consent to treatment, how do we proceed to make a decision regarding treatment?

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Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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References
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Bicknell, D.J.B. (1989) Consent and people with mental handicap. British Medical Journal, 11761177.
Hirsch, S.R. & Harris, J. (eds) (1988) Consent and the Incompetent Patient: ethics, law and medicine. London: Gaskell (Royal College of Psychiatrists).
James, D.H. (1993) The Mental Health Acts and people with severe learning disability. Psychiatric Bulletin, 17, 357358.
King, J., (1986) Informed consent: a review of the empirical evidence. Institute of Medical Ethics Bulletin, Supplement 3.
Law Commission (1993) Mentally Incapacitated Adults and Decision Making. London: HMSO.
MENCAP (1989) Competency and Consent to Medical Treatment. Report of the Working Party on Legal, Medical and Ethical Issues of Mental Handicap.
NHSME (1990) A guide to consent for examination or treatment. Chapter 5: Consent by patients suffering from mental disorder. NHS Management Executive, Circular HC (90) 22.
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BJPsych Bulletin
  • ISSN: 0955-6036
  • EISSN: 1472-1473
  • URL: /core/journals/bjpsych-bulletin
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Consent to medical treatment and people with learning disability

  • Jenny Curran (a1) and Sheila Hollins (a2)
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