The courts consider the best interests of the patients, and this situation can be seen in cases where the interests of the mother and her unborn child are involved. In the Re A case, the court opposed the wishes of the parents and held that a surgical operation was to be performed, so as to separate the conjoined twins1.The English courts have made it very clear that every individual is at liberty, under the common law, to accept or reject any kind of medical intervention, including surgery.
Medical practitioners are required by law, to comply with the ethics of the medical profession and to exercise considerable skill and competence in their work. If they fail to work in accordance with this legal duty, they will be deemed to have been negligent in their profession. Communication plays a central role in the medical profession. Therefore, medical practitioners should maintain adequate communication with other medical professionals2.
This is essential in cases entailing medical complications. The absence of such communication would result in poor deliverance of medical care to the patients. Moreover, doctors would be subjected to the allegation of clinical negligence, if there were to be inadequate communication between them. Similarly, doctors who fail to inform the dangers, inherent in the illness to the patient, are considered by the law to be negligent3. Such physicians will be prosecuted for negligence by the courts, if the patient files a case in this regard.
Blab performed an emergency operation upon Sophie, without her consent. She is a competent adult, and as she is vehemently opposed to any medical intervention, the question arises, as to whether Blab is liable for having provided the surgical intervention to her.
Patients can refuse medical treatment or surgery under the concept of freedom. However, their decisions will be valid only if they have the required levels of competence. If the patient