Legal Requirement for Mentally Ill Patients to Take Medication

TitleLegal Requirement for Mentally Ill Patients to Take Medication
Publication TypeCase Study
Year of Publication1996
AuthorsLadenson, R
Corporate Authorsof Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions, IIT
Date Published02/1996
PublisherCenter for the Study of Ethics in the Professions, Illinois Institute of Technology
Publication Languageeng
KeywordsBIOETHICS , Criminal Justice , MEDICINE , PSYCHOLOGY , Public Policy
AbstractIn 1995, Michael Vernon killed five people entirely unknown to him in a shoe store in the Bronx, New York. Mr. Vernon had previously been diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic, and had been in and out of psychiatric hospitals. At the time of his attack in the shoe store, Mr. Vernon was not taking the medication he was getting from a mental health clinic. Under current law, if a patient refuses to take his medication, he cannot be forced to do so unless he again indicates through his behavior that he has become dangerous to himself or others. Would it be morally justifiable to change the law so that a person with a serious mental illness may be recommitted for treatment if he refuses to take his medication? If so, why? If not, why not?
NotesCase from the February 24, 1996 Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl. Copyright Robert Ladenson, Center for the Study of Ethics at the Illinois Institute of Technology, 1996.
URLhttp://ethics.iit.edu/EEL/Medication%20.pdf
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