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A mentally ill woman has had a life-saving operation to amputate part of her leg against her wishes, it has emerged.

Doctors said the woman, who is in her 60s and suffers from "psychotic symptoms," would die from an untreatable infection unless her leg was removed above the knee.

They argued that she did not understand the risk to her life and lacked the mental capacity to make life-changing decisions about her treatment.

On 24 July, the Court of Protection - which rules on financial or welfare decisions for people who lack the mental capacity to do so - agreed Surrey & Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust could carry out the operation.

The patient's identity and her location were not identified during the public hearing.

Mr Justice Keehan ruled that the decision could not be reported until the surgery had been carried out, in case the patient was made aware of the plan and became distressed.

The murky issue of consent was addressed by Mr Justice Keehan, who said he was concerned "to say the least" about the idea of carrying out an amputation against the express wishes of a patient.

The judge heard expert advice from a vascular surgeon and a psychiatrist, as well as submissions from a barrister representing the trust and a barrister representing the woman.

"On the basis of the evidence I am completely satisfied that [the woman] lacks the capacity to make decisions because she suffers from a delusional disorder," said Mr Justice Keehan.

"It would appear on all the evidence that she has no concept or understanding whatsoever that the alternative to surgery is that she will die - and will die within the next five to 10 days."

He continued: "I have concerns, to say the least, about authorising a procedure for amputation against the wishes of a patient."

"There is no suitable alternative as she will very soon die," he concluded. "She deserves the chance to live a life."