Everyone has the right to decide for themselves about medical interventions in their body.
This also includes a “freedom to be ill”, ruled the supreme court in Karlsruhe.
Karlsruhe - The Federal Constitutional Court has drawn up clear limits for compulsory treatment of patients in the so-called penal system.
Unless other people are at risk, drug treatment, for example, cannot be justified against the declared will of the person concerned - in the form of an advance directive.
This emerges from a decision published in Karlsruhe on Friday.
(Az. 2 BvR 1866/17 et al.)
In principle, everyone can freely decide, in accordance with the Basic Law, about interfering with their physical integrity and dealing with their health.
In connection with human dignity, this results in a "freedom to disease", as the court puts it.
Mentally ill or addictive offenders are accommodated in the penal system.
For example, you will be sent to a psychiatric hospital or rehab clinic instead of a prison.
The court has dealt with two constitutional complaints from a man from Bavaria because of the compulsory administration of neuroleptics.
According to the information, this was justified with schizophrenia and with the wish to avoid likely brain damage.
That stood up to the courts.
On the other hand, the man lodged a constitutional complaint - now partially successful.
The Constitutional Court overturned the decisions;
it has to be decided again.
"Any medical treatment of a person against their natural will encroaches on the fundamental right to physical integrity," the Supreme Constitutional Court made clear.
In order to protect those affected, forced treatment could be justified - if milder means are no longer (or no longer) an option.
However, the patient can effectively exclude this "in the state of insight" - and thus also reject interventions "even if these are urgently indicated according to the state of medical knowledge and failure to do so can lead to permanent loss of personal freedom".
Whether that has happened must be checked in detail.
The lower courts in Bavaria did not do that, explained the constitutional court.
In addition, the autonomous decision of will can only reach as far as his own rights are affected.