Incompetence, treatment refusal, and hospitalization.
J. C. Beck and J. W. Parry,
Bull. Amer. Acad. Psychiatry & the Law
20(3): 261-7, 1992.
Psychiatrists have proposed broadened commitment statues based on need for care and treatment,
and under which judges have no role in deciding cases of treatment refusal. The mental health bar
has consistently opposed these proposals on constitutional and common law grounds. The authors
propose new commitment criteria based on incompetency to decide about hospitalization, and
inability to live safely in freedom. The proposed standards would meet the Constitutional
requirements, and would permit hospitalization and/or treatment for many persons who are in need
but who now go without. The authors recognize that new commitment law without adequate clinical
resources will not greatly improve patient care.