In re T (Adult: Refusal of Treatment): CA 1992

A patient’s right to veto medical treatment is absolute: ‘This right of choice is not limited to decisions which others might regard as sensible. It exists notwithstanding that the reasons for making the choice are rational, irrational, unknown or even non-existent.’ However the capacity must be commensurate with the gravity of the decision purported to be made: ‘The more serious the decision, the greater the capacity required.’


Lord Donaldson of Lymington MR


[1992] 4 All ER 649, [1992] 3 WLR 782, [1993] Fam 95


England and Wales


FollowedSidaway v Board of Governors of the Bethlem Royal Hospital and the Maudsley Hospital HL 21-Feb-1985
Explanation of Medical Risks essential
The plaintiff alleged negligence in the failure by a surgeon to disclose or explain to her the risks inherent in the operation which he had advised.
Held: The appeal failed. A mentally competent patient has an absolute right to refuse to . .

Cited by:

CitedThe Centre for Reproductive Medicine v U FD 24-Jan-2002
The defendant sought to use the sperm of her deceased husband for her insemination. The deceased had apparently withdrawn his consent to the use of his sperm posthumously. His widow claimed that he had been influenced to change the form, by an . .
CitedMs B v An NHS Hospital Trust FD 22-Mar-2002
The applicant had come to suffer from a completely disabling condition, and requested that her life support machine be turned off. She did not want to live on a ventilator, and had made a living will. She was found at first to have capacity to make . .
CitedU v Centre for Reproductive Medicine CA 24-Apr-2002
The claimant appealed a refusal to grant an order preventing the destruction of the sperm of her late husband held by the respondent fertility clinic. The clinic had persuaded her husband to sign a form of consent for this purpose. The claimant said . .
CitedAiredale NHS Trust v Bland CA 9-Dec-1992
The official Solicitor appealed against a decision that doctors could withdraw medical treatment including artificial nutrition, from a patient in persistent vegetative state.
Held: The doctors sought permission to act in accordance with . .
CitedAiredale NHS Trust v Bland HL 4-Feb-1993
Procedures on Withdrawal of Life Support Treatment
The patient had been severely injured in the Hillsborough disaster, and had come to be in a persistent vegetative state (PVS). The doctors sought permission to withdraw medical treatment. The Official Solicitor appealed against an order of the Court . .
CitedIn Re A (Minors) (Conjoined Twins: Medical Treatment); aka In re A (Children) (Conjoined Twins: Surgical Separation) CA 22-Sep-2000
Twins were conjoined (Siamese). Medically, both could not survive, and one was dependent upon the vital organs of the other. Doctors applied for permission to separate the twins which would be followed by the inevitable death of one of them. The . .
CitedB, Regina (on the Application Of) v SS (Responsible Medical Officer) and others CA 26-Jan-2006
The applicant had been detained after a diagnosis of Bipolar Affective Disorder and convictions for rape. He had applied for discharge, but before the hearing the doctor had said he no longer opposed his release. After the hearing but before being . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 31 July 2022; Ref: scu.180381