No announcement yet.

Ireland: Patients being held to prevent disease outbreak

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Ireland: Patients being held to prevent disease outbreak


    Patients being held to prevent disease outbreak

    Gary Culliton

    Two people are currently being detained under Section 38 of the Health Act 1947, which applies to the detention and isolation of a person who is a probable source of infection.

    And now a woman who has been detained in hospital for almost a year ? after refusing to accept treatment for a suspected case of drug-resistant tuberculosis ? has had her bid to be released turned down.
    Click here

    In half a century the Act has been used to detain people in this way on twelve occasions.

    A designated Chief Medical Officer (a trained Specialist in Public Health Medicine) has the power to detain in isolation individuals when it is necessary as a safeguard against the spread of infection. This authority is very rarely invoked and only after considering every other option, the HSE said.
    The Executive ?awaits the full text and recommendations of the recent High Court judgement by Justice John Edwards, where he found the detention to be legal and on balance the Health Act 1947 to be constitutional?.

    At the High Court, Mr Justice John Edwards ruled the woman?s detention, which has lasted 11 months, to be lawful.

    He said her situation was dire and tragic and he will now ask for a medical examiner to visit the woman and assess her capacity to take decisions for herself.

    The woman, who is from South Africa, has consistently refused treatment and is currently detained in a hospital room that is specially pressurised.

    Mr Justice Edwards noted that all medical staff treating the woman must be gowned, gloved, masked and goggled.

    He praised the primary medical care team which has been caring for the woman, adding that the staff were in a ?dreadful situation and have nothing but the best intentions at heart, but who are powerless to help the woman?.

    The mother of two arrived in Ireland in 2001 and became ill towards the end of 2006.
    Because the woman has refused treatment, the hospital has been unable to perform a specific test to determine which form of TB she is suspected to have contracted.

    The woman had brought a case under Article 40 of the Constitution challenging her detention by health authorities under the 1947 Health Act.

    Under this legislation, a person can be detained until the committing officer is satisfied that person is no longer a source of infection.

    The Judge said the woman had rightly been encouraged to take a court case by the hospital and health services.

    The case presented unique and tragic issues of public importance which the courts had to determine, he said.

    After ruling that the woman?s detention was lawful, Mr Justice Edwards said he would be asking the President of the High Court to send a medical examiner to assess the woman?s capacity to take decisions.

    If the woman refuses medical treatment, she may have to stay in hospital indefinitely.
    However, the Judge said the Health Services would have to continuously assess the woman?s case ?again and again? in a structured way to ensure her patient and constitutional rights are being vindicated.

  • #2
    Re: Ireland: Patients being held to prevent disease outbreak

    "Because the woman has refused treatment, the hospital has been unable to perform a specific test to determine which form of TB she is suspected to have contracted."

    Seems an "ca.22" loop there.

    Treatment is refused, but treatment, if we want look it that way, is not collecting an lab. diagnostic specimen.

    If not proved the contrary from the lawyers, under such an "prevent disease" act was legaly to assess the existence and the danger of such an patoghen by an laboratory specimen exam, to protect the outside people.

    But it could be done without doing further treatments.
    An psycotest can be also achieved through tecnology media devices with the translations of an interpreter.