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Published: September 2018
With an aging population and a greater emphasis on doctors working in partnership with consumers, an understanding of enduring powers of attorney (EPOA) is important. Typically doctors will encounter EPOAs in two situations. In the first scenario, the doctor is asked to provide a medical certificate about a patient’s mental capacity in order to invoke or activate an EPOA. In the second scenario, a doctor will need to consider whether the patient has appointed an attorney and if so whether the EPOA has been activated as part of obtaining informed consent for treatment of an incompetent or potentially incompetent patient.
The number of people with dementia in New Zealand has risen by 30% in six years and, by 2050, it is projected it will reach at least 150,000. This article considers the situation of people detained in secure aged care facilities who do not have a welfare guardian or activated enduring power of attorney (EPOA). Such people may express a strong desire to go home. This article also considers the basis on which such people may be detained and in particular whether Right 7(4) of the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers’ Rights (the Code) can be the legal basis for transferring a person to a secure unit in a residential care facility and the ongoing treatment/detention of such a resident.
This article considers a recent HDC case relating to decisions made during surgery during which a young woman had both fallopian tubes removed (15HDC01847). A 20-year-old woman had consulted a gynaecologist about her endometriosis. The gynaecologist performed a diagnostic laparoscopy, during which it was found that the woman had stage four endometriosis and a “markedly thickened” left fallopian tube.