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Revista Española de Sanidad Penitenciaria

versión On-line ISSN 2013-6463versión impresa ISSN 1575-0620


GARCIA-GUERRERO, J. et al. Autonomy and patient prisoners. Rev. esp. sanid. penit. [online]. 2007, vol.9, n.2, pp.47-52. ISSN 2013-6463.

The authors study a recent Spanish High Court decision declaring liability on the Administration’s part for the death of an inmate in a prison hospital. We analyse the Court’s decision using legal, ethical, medical and social perspectives. The conclusions are that: 1. the Administration has no legitimate right to force a prisoner to take medical treatment, except in circumstances in which there is a grave and definite risk to the patient’s life, or when the patient lacks capacity or when there is the risk of harm to the health of third parties; 2. That in the case of health decision making that might affect a patient, the Court has mounted a frontal attack on the autonomy of patients in prison; 3. That from a medical point of view the decision is discriminatory since it does not apply the same standards of measurement to all chronic illnesses that might be found in the prison context; 4. That it is inapplicable in daily practice due to the fact that its strictness of application would seriously affect the already highly fragile ordered coexistence that exists in a prison.

Palabras clave : Personal Autonomy; Legislation & Jurisprudence; Treatment Refusal; Prison.

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