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Part II - Heightened Standard of Proof is Required for Authorization of Medical Procedures that Impacts Fundamental Rights

To continue our blog on the Conservatorship of the Person and Estate of Maria B., a public defender was appointed as Maria's counsel and opposed Denise's petition on the grounds that (1) Probate Code section 1950, regarding sterilization of developmentally disabled persons, provided the controlling statutory procedures for the petition; (2) Maria lacked the capacity to provide informed consent for the proposed surgery; and (3) Denise failed to show by clear and convincing evidence that the proposed surgery was medically necessary.

The trial court took the matter under submission and passed a ruling granting Denise's petition. The court found that Probate Code section 2357 provided the controlling authority because Denise sought to obtain medical treatment for Maria's condition and sterilization was only an incidental effect of the treatment. The court also found that preponderance of the evidence standard was the controlling burden of proof and Denise presented sufficient evidence to show that Maria's condition requires the recommended course of treatment.

The trail court clerk forwarded the trial court's ruling to the Court of Appeal as an automatic appeal under section 1962.

Stay tuned for more on this topic on our subsequent blog.

*This blog entry was not written by an Attorney and should not be construed as professional legal advice.