Refusal of Medical Treatment: Law and Ethics

Discussion in 'Suicidal Thoughts and Feelings' started by endgame01, Jul 7, 2010.

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  1. endgame01

    endgame01 Member

    Suppose, for example, that a person takes an overdose of some kind.
    This action incapacitates the person, but does not kill them.
    The nature of the overdose results in organ failure. The liver, for example.

    Without treatment, maybe even a transplant, the person will die.

    What are the laws (for me, it's the UK), and ethics if the person chooses to refuse further treatment? That is, in doing so, would surely die.

    Can the general medical opinion to save live over-ride the individuals decision to die?

    Could the act of taking an overdose, with the express intention to die, be taken as a sign of irrational thought, and thus further wishes to refuse treatment be seen as irrational, and thus be ignored by medical opinion?

    Does the term "Do Not Resuscitate" carry any legal weight in this scenario?
  2. Marty482

    Marty482 Well-Known Member

    Lets foucus on making you happy and finding a way out of your problems instead of this. Please dont think of these things. What is bothering you? Please tell us we want to know and help.
  3. FBD

    FBD Well-Known Member

    in an emergency situation like an od, at least in the us, you do not have the right to refuse medical treatment, no matter what your age
  4. plates

    plates Well-Known Member

    You'd be sectioned by law, but I suspect, you'd be in ITU, or a liver unit- and your physical health would come first. If you were conscious, and refused a transplant- you most probably will have a MH act assessment resulting in a section, allowing liver doctors to go ahead with a transplant- that is, if there is a transplant ready for you. Ethics is a different story altogether.



  5. Forgotten_Man

    Forgotten_Man Well-Known Member

    I find that ethics get skewed when it comes to age. If someone young wants to die they are obviously not well. The ethical thing to do would be to save them. The person's freewill has no meaning if it does not follow basic human instincts. It is just like How those who have no interest in procreation are chastised.
  6. plates

    plates Well-Known Member

    Yeah I've had the 'you're too young to die' BS being thrown at me. That's a really good point you made about ethics in psychiatric nursing.
  7. shades

    shades Staff Alumni

    I am not an MD, nor a lawyer...but I believe in the U.S. you will be under a doctor's care if they suspect an intentional o.d. and you will not have the choice of refusing treatment as suicide is illegal (with the exception now of a couple of states and then only if the patient is terminal).

    However, if I pass out (in a situation that has nothing to do with a deliberate o.d.) and I am taken to a hospital where I am told that I need a new liver or I will die, I believe I have the right to refuse a transplant.

    Similarly, as a diabetic, I suppose one day they could tell me that I must have my leg amputated or I will die. I am quite sure that I can refuse such a procedure.

    Again, I am not positive on this issue, just close to certain and I will be looking for information to the contrary as it is an interesting discussion in my estimation. If anyone has additional info. especially if it is contrary to what I've stated, it would be appreciated!
  8. Forgotten_Man

    Forgotten_Man Well-Known Member

    Yeah I have heard it too. Society cannot have the next generation killing itself off. After all if that happens society will die.
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