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|Wye Valley NHS Trust v B (2015) EWCOP 60||
Amputation - religious beliefs
"The issue in this case is whether it is lawful for the doctors treating Mr B, a 73-year-old gentleman with a severely infected leg, to amputate his foot against his wishes in order to save his life. Without the operation, the inevitable outcome is that he will shortly die, quite possibly within a few days. If he has the operation, he may live for a few years. Mr B also has a long-standing mental illness that deprives him of the capacity to make the decision for himself. The operation can therefore only be lawfully performed if it is in his best interests. ... Having considered all of the evidence and the parties' submissions, I have reached the clear conclusion that an enforced amputation would not be in Mr B's best interests. Mr B has had a hard life. Through no fault of his own, he has suffered in his mental health for half a century. He is a sociable man who has experienced repeated losses so that he has become isolated. He has no next of kin. No one has ever visited him in hospital and no one ever will. Yet he is a proud man who sees no reason to prefer the views of others to his own. His religious beliefs are deeply meaningful to him and do not deserve to be described as delusions: they are his faith and they are an intrinsic part of who he is. I would not define Mr B by reference to his mental illness or his religious beliefs. Rather, his core quality is his "fierce independence", and it is this that is now, as he sees it, under attack."