Subscribe to our newsletter
Picture of Disclosing a Value System in a Living Will Could be in Your Best Interests

Disclosing a Value System in a Living Will Could be in Your Best Interests

Author(s): Susan Farrall

Book Description

This book raises the question of whether the values or value system of a competent person, when they have been disclosed in a living will, could play a role in medical treatment decision-making processes under the Mental Capacity Act 2005.

The investigation seeks to address a contemporary issue in medical law that directly or indirectly affects many members of society. It arises out of the fact that medical scientific and technological advances are helping people to live for longer. This is consistent with the medical purpose which is to preserve the life, health and well-being of patients. However, medical advances that contribute to people living longer have precipitated a proportionate rise in diseases such as dementia. Likewise medical innovations that enable physicians to artificially preserve and maintain life ensure that fewer people die following serious injury or illness but will inevitably preserve the life of some where mental functioning is unduly compromised. Whether through injury or disease, patients who suffer a permanent loss of decision-making capacity will be incapable of exercising autonomy to safeguard their own body, life and life plan.

As a result, provisions of the MCA governing who decides and the principles on which they should decide how best to act are set to become increasingly relevant to many more people. On that basis the author examines the ethical underpinnings of the law to show why autonomy, not medical beneficence, has succeeded in becoming the primary principle of medical law in respect of the capable patient. Next, the author investigates whether principles that are relevant to capable patients inform the law related to mentally incapacitated patients also. Accordingly, this study is ultimately concerned with the circumstances under which the Mental Capacity Act 2005 authorises the administration of a medical treatment in respect of formerly competent patients; shows why the law might fail to deliver what it promises in respect of this patient group and suggests ways for how the law might be made to work better.

This research is timely and could benefit many people. The range of issues covered in this book will appeal to a wide readership, including medical ethics and law students and tutors, medical and legal professionals and interested members of the public.


ISBN-13: 978-1-4438-3210-6
ISBN-10: 1-4438-3210-3
Date of Publication: 01/10/2011
Pages / Size: 415 / A5
Price: £49.99


Susan Farrall (LLB, LLM, LLD) studied Law at Nottingham Trent University in the UK. She graduated in 2004 and then entered into postgraduate education to pursue her interest in medical law. Curiosity about this subject was stimulated at an early stage of her legal education by the medical law case, Bolam.