Cancer Patient May Have Forced Operation

A leading judge in the U.K. gave a National Health Service trust permission Wednesday to sedate a cancer patient, who suffers from a phobia of hospitals and needles, in order to perform a hysterectomy considered necessary to save her life.

Britain's most senior family judge, Sir Nicholas Wall, granted the unnamed trust a declaration allowing it to use force if necessary to treat the 55-year-old woman, named only as PS, The Times reported.

Sir Nicholas, who as President of the High Court Family Division also heads the Court of Protection, said that the trust sought permission “to ensure that PS undergoes necessary surgery”.

He said that the woman was represented by the Official Solicitor to look after her interests because she had a “significant impairment in intellectual functioning as a consequence of a learning disability”. It meant that she did not have the capacity within the meaning of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 “to make decisions concerning her future medical treatment”.

“Without surgical intervention the tumor [in her uterus] will spread and lead, ultimately, to PS’s death,” Wall said. “I am further satisfied, given her hospital and needle phobia, that it may well be necessary to sedate PS in order to convey her to hospital, and that the risks of sedation in these circumstances have been appropriately addressed by the trust.”

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