Decision making at the end of life: the choice is yours, or is it?
In practice the law expands upon this fundamental premise so that not only must consent be obtained to authorise medical treatment, but where a competent adult patient chooses to refuse treatment by declining to consent that
refusal must also be respected.4 The principle applies even if the patient will inevitably die as a consequence of refusing treatment:
. . . it is unlawful, so as to constitute both a tort and the crime of battery, to administer medical treatment to an adult, who is conscious and of sound mind, without his consent . . . such a person is completely at liberty to decline to undergo treatment . . . even if the result of his doing so will be that he will die.5