What Human Rights do for Health

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Health
2005
UK

A patient has the right to determine his/her best interests

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A court said that withdrawing life-prolonging treatment without the patient's consent would constitute inhuman and degrading treatment and violate the right to life and respect for private life.

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    Health
    2015
    UK

    Councils can only detain people with mental health problems if it’s in their best interests

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    The Council removed a man from his home because they thought this in his best interests. His friends said otherwise and the Court agreed. The Council's act was an unlawful overreaction. The nonegenarian returned to live with his cat Fluffy.

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    Health
    2009
    Europe

    Prison medical officers can’t interfere in private correspondence

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    The applicant served his prison sentence after suffering a brain haemorrhage and was required to attend hospital for every six months. He complained that the prison medical officer read his medical correspondence. The Court agreed this was an unjust interference with his right to correspondence.

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    Health
    2013
    UK

    Victims of neglectful hospital treatment got justice (and compensation)

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    Elderly and vulnerable patients were badly mistreated in an NHS hospital. A public inquiry found there was a failure of the NHS system at every level.

    Children
    2006
    UK

    Young people can get confidential sexual health advice

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    A mother challenged guidelines allowing doctors to give sexual health advice and treatment to under 16s without telling their parents. In this case, young people's right to private life overrode the parents' rights.

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    TOP 50
    50 Cases
    2012
    UK

    Hospitals must protect vulnerable patients at risk of suicide

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    A hospital should have done more to prevent the suicide of Melanie Rabone, a voluntary mental health patient. She was at an immediate risk of suicide, so the hospital had a duty to protect her right to life.

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    Health
    1998
    Europe

    Government must be honest about pollution risks to those affected

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    The claimants lived near to a factory causing high levels of pollution but received no information on its activity, safety measures or emergency plans. They won their case. Government must inform inhabitants to enable them to decide whether to continue living there.

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    Health
    2004
    Europe

    Medical staff can’t ignore parents’ objections to treatment of their children

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    A mother had fought doctors' decisions to give diamorphine to her critically ill disabled son as it could speed up his death. The Court said the approach of the doctors breached the mother and sons' right to family and private life.

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    TOP 50
    50 Cases
    2007
    UK

    Private residential care homes should be protected by human rights laws

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    A private company providing residential care for disabled people was not a public authority. That meant it didn't have to protect human rights of residents. The backlash over the case led to the loophole being closed in 2008.

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      TOP 50
      50 Cases
      2008
      UK

      The State must do all it can to protect potential suicide victims

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      A woman's mother died whilst detained as a mental health patient. The court confirmed that human rights mean there is a positive duty on health authorities to take reasonable measures to prevent mental health patients from committing suicide.

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      Health
      2003
      Europe

      Governments must look after ill people in prison

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      A heroin addict died in prison, having suffered severe withdrawal symptoms. Her children complained of inhuman and degrading treatment. The Court agreed and held states to be under a duty to ensure detainees were held in conditions compatible with human dignity.

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      Health
      2003
      Europe

      Residents living under flight paths must be able to challenge flight schemes

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      Residents under the Heathrow flight path argued the night flights policy violated their human rights. The Court said their privacy rights had not been violated but their rights to a remedy under UK law had been, as there was no way to challenge the policy.

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      Children
      2012
      UK

      A child’s surgery happened despite mum’s objection

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      A child was prescribed chemo- and radiotherapy after brain surgery. His mother refused to consent to the treatment. A court decided that the treatment was in the child's best interests and ordered it to go ahead.

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      TOP 50
      50 Cases
      2004
      Europe

      Mental health detention needs proper safeguards

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      A man was admitted to a psychiatric hospital. He was was there informally, so wasn't protected by legal safeguards. This meant it was difficult for his family to get him home. This violated his right to liberty. The UK government responded by plugging the gap with a new law.

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        Health
        2009
        Europe

        Patients can get photocopies of their own medical records

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        Eight Roma women suspected they had been sterilised by medical authorities when having caesarians. They were refused permission to photocopy their medical records to assess their health status and begin litigation. They won their case.

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        Health
        2015
        UK

        DNA collected for criminal investigation can’t be used for unrelated purposes

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        DNA had been lawfully collected from X's house during the investigation of a murder for which X was later convicted. A local authority wanted to use the DNA to resolve a paternity claim. A court found that was a breach of X's right to privacy.

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        Health
        2002
        Europe

        Authorities must consider carefully detention of seriously ill prisoners

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        The applicant's continued detention whilst his health was deteriorating breached the State's duty to protect prisoners from distress or hardship beyond that which you would normally expect in prison.

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        Family
        2014
        UK

        Doctors must involve families in ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ notices for patients

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        A 'Do Not Resuscitate' Notice was put in the Mrs Tracey's medical notes without consulting her or her family. The doctors' failure to consult breached her right to personal autonomy and to respect for private and family life.

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        Health
        2010
        Europe

        Women at risk of health problems must have access to information about abortion

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        A woman was in remission from cancer. She became pregnant and believed this could provoke a relapse. She couldn't find out from authorities or the courts whether she could have a legal abortion. She won her case. It was too unclear whether she could have a legal abortion or not.

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          Health
          1998
          Europe

          Governments must provide information if exposing public to hazards

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          The applicants were members of the armed forces present at the Christmas Island nuclear tests in the 1950s. They complained the government was hiding adverse information about the tests. The court confirmed the government must allow people to get to the truth.

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            Family
            2014
            Europe

            If you’re a parent in one country, you’re a parent everywhere

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            French courts refused to grant legal recognition of parent-child relationships which had been legally recognised in the USA. This was found to breach the child's right to respect for private life.

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            Health
            2002
            Europe

            Birth parents must be treated sensitively in emergency care proceedings

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            A baby was taken away from her birth mother at birth and placed with foster carers. The birth parents were not legally represented when the plan for adoption was approved. They won their case and were awarded damages.

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              Health
              2014
              Europe

              Medical students can’t watch women give birth without their (genuine) consent

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              The applicant's privacy rights were breached when she did not give written consent to the presence of medical students when she gave birth. Russian laws were found insufficient in this respect. The booklet on the teaching programme was vague, and made it look like the applicant had no choice in the matter.

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              What Human Rights do for Health
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