chapter  8
16 Pages

Decision making at the end of life: the choice is yours, or is it?

ByHAZEL BIGGS

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