Hospital may detain patient who recently had large bleed on brain, court rules

Woman seeking to go home but doctor says she lacks capacity to make decisions in her best interests

A hospital has secured a High Court order allowing it to detain, pending further order, a female patient who recently suffered a large bleed on her brain but has expressed a desire to go home. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

A hospital has secured a High Court order allowing it to detain, pending further order, a female patient who recently suffered a large bleed on her brain but has expressed a desire to go home. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

 

A hospital has secured a High Court order allowing it to detain, pending further order, a female patient who recently suffered a large bleed on her brain but has expressed a desire to go home.

The woman’s treating doctor told High Court President Ms Justice Mary Irvine on Thursday that he is hopeful the woman can be discharged in due course with appropriate supports.

However, he said that because she is still suffering the effects of the bleed on her brain, including delusional thoughts and disordered thinking, his view was that she lacks capacity at this time to make decisions in the best interests of her welfare and the hospital wanted the court’s assistance.

He was hopeful the woman, who the court heard is not mobile, will continue to recover but he did not believe discharging her at this time was in her best interests.

Maria Watson BL, for the hospital, said the woman was admitted there early last month with symptomatic Covid-19 and was treated for that. A week after her admission, she suffered a brain haemhorrhage which has left her with impaired capacity.

While she was expected to improve, the hospital is concerned she had on occasions expressed a wish to go home and that her family may not recognise the extent of the nursing care she requires while she continues to suffer impairment, counsel outlined.

Ms Justice Irvine said she was satisfied to make the detention order, ex parte (one side only represented), under the court’s wardship jurisdiction, and returned the matter to later this month.