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The emergency treatment of overdose: a problem of consent to treatment

  • Tim Hardie (a1), Kamaldeep Bhui (a2) and Phillip Brown (a3)
Abstract

We surveyed 119 psychiatrists to see how they would act with a patient who has taken a potentially lethal overdose, has no mental illness, and is refusing treatment. There was substantial disagreement. There may be a risk of action under civil law whether the psychiatrist decides to treat the patient without his or her consent or not. The Law Commission are examining whether mental disorder, as defined in the Mental Health Act 1983, should be used as a test of Incapacity to give consent to medical treatment. Such legislation would help doctors but may encourage a wide interpretation of the definition of mental disorder.

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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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Harrison, P. M., O'grady, J. G., Keays, R. T., Alexander, G. J. M. & Williams, R. (1990) Serial prothrombin time as prognostic indicator in paracetamol induced fulminant hepatic failure. British Medical Journal 301, 964966.
Korgaonkar, G. & Tribe, D. (1993) Suicide and attempted suicide – a doctor's liability. British Journal of Hospital Medicine, 50, 680681.
Law Commission (1993) Consultation Paper No 129: Mentally Incapacitated Adults and Decision-Making. Medical Treatment and Research. pp1024. London: HMSO.
Lord Donaldson Of Lymington M. R. (1992) In Re T. (Adult Refusal of Treatment). Weekly Law Reports, 3, 782805.
Nelson-Jones, R. & Burton, F. (1990) Medical Negligence Case Law, p.8 Fourmat Publishing.
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BJPsych Bulletin
  • ISSN: 0955-6036
  • EISSN: 1472-1473
  • URL: /core/journals/bjpsych-bulletin
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The emergency treatment of overdose: a problem of consent to treatment

  • Tim Hardie (a1), Kamaldeep Bhui (a2) and Phillip Brown (a3)
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