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Medico-legal aspects 

Medico-legal aspects
Medico-legal aspects

Barry N. Speker

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date: 12 July 2020

This chapter reviews the medicolegal aspects of medicine in the United Kingdom. The issues, however, are common in many countries. Ethical issues dictate the law in a society and these are summarized as beneficence, non-malfeasance, autonomy, and justice with the sanctity of human life. Preoperative assessment is discussed with regard to capacity to consent and the five key principles underlying the Mental Capacity Act 2005. Important aspects of consent are reviewed including the voluntariness of the process and the communication of information. Refusal of consent is explored including advanced decisions through lasting powers of attorney. The process for dealing with adults who lack capacity is then discussed including the use of independent medical capacity advocates and the Court of Protection. End-of-life aspects, such as do not attempt resuscitation, and withdrawal of treatment are reviewed. Clinical negligence, family involvement in decision-making, and research are difficult areas and these are discussed.

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