Published online by Cambridge University Press: 03 June 2022
You are asked to see an adult patient. You advise a medical intervention, be it admission to hospital, medical investigations or treatment. The patient wishes to take your advice and consents. Why did you need the patient’s consent? Well, because of the common law.
A competent patient has an absolute right to refuse to consent to medical treatment for any reason, rational or irrational, or for no reason at all, even when that decision may lead to his or her death.