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A Leg to Stand On: Working With Marginal Decision-making Capacity in a Patient With a Severe Leg Infection and Schizophrenia.

Assessment of a patient's capacity to make treatment decisions and working with the wishes of a patient with mental illness against the best medically indicated plan is a complex and dynamic task. It is particularly challenging when the course of deterioration of the illness is meandering and slow, and the time horizon for recovery is uncertain, providing no clear point of entry for definitive crisis intervention. High-impact decisions concerning body integrity, such as the amputation of a leg, further complicate the task. To highlight these challenges and complexities, we present the case of a man who suffered from schizophrenia, with a worsening diabetic foot ulcer and suboptimal acceptance of proper wound care. The patient died as a result of his refusal of a proposed amputation to address his life-threatening infection. Medical system and cultural issues are also considered.

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