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Mentally Ill and Refusing Surgery

45 minutes
First broadcast:
Tuesday 20 July 2010

Joan Bakewell is joined by a panel of experts to discuss the real life case of John who needs a life-saving operation, but is refusing it.

Patients have the right to refuse treatment, but John is mentally ill. He believes the operation is an elaborate conspiracy to kill him.

Without surgery, John has only a few weeks to live.

Is John's refusal valid? Should the surgeon operate without his consent? It might save John's life, but would it be in his best interests?

Joan Bakewell is joined by her panel of experts to discuss the complex ethical issues arising from this case.

Producer: Beth Eastwood.


Explore ethics in more depth with The Open University

Open University Promo for Inside the Ethics Comittee

Find out what the OU experts think about the ethical dilemmas.


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    Inside the Ethics Committee

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