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TexLaw, Attorney
Category: Legal
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Experience:  Lead trial/International commercial attorney licensed 11 yrs
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If a person is sick and does not want to go to a hospital but

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If a person is sick and does not want to go to a hospital but is told by a doctor and wife (RN) what are the options of getting that RN to take the husband who lives at home to the hospital or doctor for medical assistance?


Thank you for your question. I am sorry to hear about this situation.

In California, an individual has the right to refuse medical treatment as long as they are able to give consent. A doctor will not provide treatment to a patient unless that patient has given his/her informed consent. This is always the case unless the patient has reached an emergency situation, which is defined as a situation requiring immediate treatment of a medical condition that would otherwise lead to serious disability or death.

Accordingly, you are not able to force your husband to submit to medical treatment unless he consents to it, or unless he is in an emergency situation. As an RN who has worked in the ICU, you are aware of when his situation reaches an emergency level and can at that time take him to a doctor for treatment (it does not have to be in an emergency room or by way of an ambulance). I would suggest that if he has become psychotic because of his medical condition, then you can take him to the emergency room and get him admitted for treatment. In the end, the doctor who is going to provide the treatment will make an independent assessment of whether your husband has the mental capacity to consent to treatment that is needed. If he does not, and the treatment is needed to prevent death or disability, the doctor may then treat without your husbands consent (unless there is a living will or declaration wherein your husband has stated that he does not consent to treatment).

Unfortunately, your husband's rights to give his consent to medical treatment outweigh your and his doctor's best judgment as to treatment he may need.

Please let me know if you have further questions or wish to discuss this matter further. Please also remember to rate my answer positively so that I may be compensated for my work on your question.



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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thsnk you for your assistance. I thought you would answer in the manner that you did. I was told that because I am an RN I should have taken him against his will is why I asked for your help in this situation. I just need to know if I will be held liable if he were to go into adrenal failure and the same situation happened again. He did not give me a written consent, nor a verbal consent. He just refused because of being on hydrocoritcosteroids, the dosage being out of range and the Rx continually refilling the scripts. My husband had 13,000mg of hydrocoritocteroids in his system at one the time I attempted to get him to go to see a doctor. In reality because of the medication causing the pshychosis. Because of the amount of medication in his system he ended up with a lower GI bleed and had to have 9 pints of blood. I did some research and learned that when a person has bleeding into the intestines the person is at risk of being dehydrated, lower O2 (which would cause him to make irrational decisions) The blood carries the O2 to the brain so in my understanding there was no way he could make a sound decision. Can I call 911 anyway when it gets that serious?