Medical law

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The recent case of Katie Thorpe who is 15, whose mother Alison Thorpe trusts that she should be granted a hysterectomy, as she has severe cerebral palsy and the mental capacity of an eighteen-month-old child. This has stirred the discussion over who should decide the sterilisation of mentally incompetent adults should be. Katie’s mother claims that a hysterectomy is in the best interests of Katie because she merely would not manage to handle the ‘aching, distress and embarrassment’ encompassed in menstruation. There are many cases in relation to this issue, however there is no instruction for when a parent is allowed to make that choice. The decision to sterilise a patient, particularly someone with healthy procreative organs who is…show more content…
She was starting to live alone and had a partner; with whom it was dreaded she was expected to instigate a sexual relationship. Consequently, Z’s mother contended that it was in her best interests to have a hysterectomy. The solicitor disputed that in place of a hysterectomy it would be better to go for a contraceptive method. The Court believed that it was in the patient’s best interests to implement a sterilisation as menstruation caused her nothing but agony, distress and humiliation, together with the likelihood of pregnancy and the subsequent difficulties of managing with a child or giving it up. The Court consequently evaluates all the evidence in all the cases individually before determining what is the suitable action to take in respect of each patient. Katie Thorpe’s case differs from these examples as her mother desires to perform preventive sterilisation, before she goes through menstruation at all. Preceding cases have all been grounded on a situation where the patient can be shown to be unable to cope with menstruation. In my opinion, the statement made by Heilbron J [in Re D] is somewhat correct in different circumstances. I believe that if the girl or woman was incompetent then she would not be able to make her own decision therefore the doctors or her parents would have to make it for her. If the patient was competent, I would agree that it would be a violation of her rights to sterilise her for non-therapeutic reasons. WORD

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