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

Hospital bosses in Nottingham responsible for the man’s treatment had asked Mr Justice Hayden to decide what moves were in his best interests Credit: PA

An autistic man diagnosed with "chronic" kidney disease should not be forced to undergo dialysis, a judge has ruled.

Mr Justice Hayden heard that the 26-year-old did not "accept" that he had "chronic kidney disease", nor see the need for dialysis, and had "frequently refused" to attend outpatient appointments.

The man's mother, who has mental health difficulties, did not accept the diagnosis either, the judge was told.

Hospital bosses in Nottingham responsible for the man’s treatment had asked Mr Justice Hayden to decide what moves were in his best interests.

Lawyers representing specialists said "repeated attempts" to explain the "need" for dialysis and the “potentially fatal consequence of not having it” had been unsuccessful.

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”.

Mr Justice Hayden had heard evidence at a recent hearing in the Court of Protection, where judges consider issues relating to people who may not have the mental capacity to make decisions, in London.

The judge, who has outlined details and conclusions in a written ruling, decided that “forced restraint”, either in the face of the man’s “expressed opposition” or at a time when he was “no longer able to resist”, would “compromise his dignity”.

Queen's University Hospital Nottingham Credit: ITV News Central

He said he had spoken to the man, during the hearing, on a “private video-link”.

“(The man) does not want to die,” said Mr Justice Hayden.

“I formed the impression that he very much wanted to live.”

The judge added: “Ultimately, all I could do was tell him that the decision was his.”

Mr Justice Hayden said the man could not be named in media reports of the case.

He said bosses at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust had responsibility for the man’s care and had begun litigation.