A cancer patient who has a phobia of hospitals should be forced to undergo a life-saving operation if necessary, a British judge recently ruled. He added that doctors could forcibly sedate the 55-year-old woman, who he feels lacks the capacity to make decisions about her health.
Doctors feel she would die if her ovaries and fallopian tubes were not removed, as she was diagnosed with uterine cancer last year. The tumors are slow growing but would, without surgery, ultimately spread and kill her. The woman, who is said to have a significant intellectual impairment, has refused to attend a hospital for treatment. In addition to fearing the hospital, she also has a needle phobia.
Patient advocates cited that the use of force was only justified if it was established, beyond doubt, that the patient could not comprehend that without medical care they would die.