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A morbid reason for consent
  1. Fay Murray-Brown1 and
  2. Llion Davies2
  1. 1Department of Palliative Medicine, Derriford Hospital, Plymouth, Devon, UK
  2. 2Department of General Surgery, University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Fay Murray-Brown, Palliative Medicine, Derriford Hospital, Derriford Road, Plymouth, PL6 8DH, UK; faymurray-brown{at}


We report the case of a recently bereaved elderly lady admitted on the acute surgical take who gave consent for emergency surgery in the hope of dying intraoperatively. To her dismay she survived and, thereafter, refused all food and medical intervention leading to her death 15 days later. This case highlights concerns regarding both the process of consent following emergency admission and failure to identify a vulnerable patient's wishes.

  • Bereavement
  • Clinical assessment
  • Clinical decisions
  • Communication

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