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To treat or not to treat: the legal, ethical and therapeutic implications of treatment refusal.
  1. A N Wear,
  2. D Brahams
  1. Cavendish House Community Mental Health Centre, Portsmouth.


    Health professionals faced with refusal of life-saving treatment may wish to override a person's wishes, especially if that person suffers from a mental disorder. Mental illness does not automatically mean a patient is incapable of making decisions of this nature. It is not always clear whether an individual is legally competent to decide whether to undergo treatment or not. This article discusses a clinical example and analyses some of the moral implications.

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