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Hospital acted unlawfully preventing elderly woman with dementia from leaving July 2, 2018

Court of Appeal hears hospital was concerned discharge was not in best interests of 93-year-old.

A general hospital acted unlawfully by preventing a frail 93-year-old woman with dementia from leaving due to its concern that discharge was not in her best interests, the Court of Appeal has ruled.

Mr Justice Gerard Hogan said the case raised legal and constitutional issues of “far-reaching importance” regarding care and welfare of the infirm elderly.

Outside the Mental Health Act 2001, and the special circumstances of the Health Act enabling detention of those with infectious diseases, the concept of detention “really has no place in our system of medical care”. While he could sympathise with the hospital, its “self-created” power of detention might, if unchecked, lead to “widespread abuse”.

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