Book review: A Practical Guide to the Law of Medical Treatment Decisions

A Practical Guide to the Law of Medical Treatment Decisions (Ben Troke, Law Brief Publishing, 2020, c£39.99)

Ben Troke, a solicitor and partner at Hill Dickinson, expresses the hope in the introduction in this new book that in it, he can “set out a practical overview that might be helpful not only to lawyers in the field, but also to clinicians and to any individuals who have an interest in how crucial medical treatment decisions will be made for ourselves and our families.”   He succeeds triumphantly in his goal, in a book which is accessible, accurate, timely (including discussion of COVID-19), personal (in the right way), and even in places surprisingly funny.   In a (relatively) short compass, he manages to cover a huge amount of ground, covering both the position in England & Wales both in respect of children and in respect of adults; importantly, he also never loses sight of the fact that – more here than anywhere else – the law and ethics are in constant conversation.

Many who buy this book may well be doing to get an overview of the key issues, and I suspect that many of those who do so will indeed be clinicians as Ben anticipates.  They will gain a huge amount from it, and, in many cases, it will provide them all that they need to be able to think through matters from themselves (and/or – which is just as important – stop and ask themselves whether now is the time to go and consult a lawyer).   However, even for the real enthusiasts who already have on their bookshelves works such as the monumental Principles of Medical Law or the slimmer, but still very dense (in the right way)  Medical Treatment: Decisions and the Law, the book will make a stimulating read.

[Full disclosure, I had sight of this book, and made comments upon it, in draft form, and was also provided with a copy by the publishers.  I am always happy to review books in the field of mental capacity and mental health law (broadly defined).]


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