Learning Disability Today
Supporting professionals working in learning disability and autism services

Autistic man should not be forced to undergo dialysis, judge rules

A judge has ruled that a 26-year-old autistic man with chronic kidney disease does not have to undergo dialysis, despite hospital specialists saying there would be a “potentially fatal consequence” if he didn’t have it.

In a hearing at the Court of Protection, Mr Justice Hayden was asked to decide the man’s best interests after he said he did not “accept” he had the disease, nor see the need for dialysis.

Specialists representing Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, who have responsibility for the man’s care, said there had been repeated attempts” to explain the “need” for dialysis.

They said doctors thought it would not be in the man’s best interests for “any form of restraint” to be used to “compel his attendance” at hospital or “secure dialysis”.

The man’s mother, who has mental health difficulties, did not accept the diagnosis either.

In his ruling, Mr Justice Hayden said: “I formed the impression that he very much wanted to live. Ultimately, all I could do was tell him that the decision was his.”

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