Tuesday 17th May 2022

In certain circumstances, and for a variety of reasons, patients choose to refuse medical treatment. [1] These decisions, in the absence of cognitive impairment, are typically respected by clinicians. Similarly, situations arise when medical professionals decline to care for a patient. [2] Such refusal is fraught, with arguments made that this represents abdication of duty. However, in practice, it is generally accepted that a doctor cannot be forced to treat a patient and, indeed, doctors’ freedom of choice is protected in international law. [3]