Judge rules man should lose leg 'against his wishes'

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A mentally-ill man who could die if his badly-infected left foot is not amputated should have the operation against his wishes, a judge has ruled.

Mrs Justice Lieven also said the East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust "could and should" have asked for the case to be considered earlier.

Amputating the limb was in the man's best interests, she ruled.

The judge has just released her written judgement from a hearing in the Court of Protection in London.

Mrs Justice Lieven, who heard the case earlier this month, has written: "This application came before me on an extremely urgent basis. However, it was entirely apparent from the papers that the application had been in the course of preparation for at least a month."

The judge, who is based in the Family Division of the High Court in London, added: "The effect of the delay has been detrimental to (the man's) interests and to a fair process which could fully take into account his wishes."

Doctors had said the man, who suffers from schizophrenia and is in his early 60s, could die if the lower part of his leg was not removed.

They said options were limited.

The judge heard evidence from specialists and legal argument from lawyers representing the trust and the man, before making a decision, and spoke to the man via a telephone link to the court room.

The BBC has approached the trust for a comment.

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