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(solved) Legal And Ethical Issues Related To Psychiatric Emergencies

(solved) Legal And Ethical Issues Related To Psychiatric Emergencies

Legal And Ethical Issues Related To Psychiatric Emergencies


Many psychiatric emergencies occur outside the psychiatric inpatient unit, such as in emergency rooms, outpatient clinics, and on medical floors. Literature is scarce on the legal, ethical, and practical implications of mandatory treatment in psychiatric emergencies. The aim is to review the legal and ethical background of treatment over objection in the United States of America, define the term “psychiatric emergency,” examine the legal and ethical bases for physicians to act in these situations and suggest additional areas for thought and research. We hope that the legal foundations of involuntary treatment in the United States and consideration of relevant ethical issues will enable lawmakers and providers to create the ideal framework for involuntary treatment outside of inpatient units, wherever they live.


Before the seminal cases of the latter half of the twentieth century, society and the courts expected psychiatrists to treat patients against their will, even holding them accountable when they did not. For example, a New York court decision awarded a patient $300,000 in damages in 1968 because a hospital did not treat him against his will. Pennsylvania’s attorney general states that the legal purpose of hospitalization is treatment, so no consent is required before administering electroconvulsive therapy in state hospitals. These decisions were consistent with the psychiatrist’s role as a state agent and his duty to carry out the principles of parens patriae (lit. the father of his country), which protects vulnerable individuals, as well as salus populi suprema lex esto (lit. the welfare of the people shall be the supreme law), which is the state’s police power to protect its citizens from others.

Legal And Ethical Issues Related To Psychiatric Emergencies

Legal And Ethical Issues Related To Psychiatric Emergencies


Legal And Ethical Issues Related To Psychiatric Emergencies

Address the following:

  • Explain the state of MARYLAND laws for involuntary psychiatric holds for child and adult psychiatric emergencies. Include who can hold a patient and for how long, who can release the emergency hold, and who can pick up the patient after a hold is released.
  • Explain the differences among emergency hospitalization for evaluation/psychiatric hold, inpatient commitment, and outpatient commitment in MARYLAND
  • Explain the difference between capacity and competency in mental health contexts.
  • Topic: CONFIDENTIALITY: Explain one legal issue and one ethical issue related to this topic that may apply within the context of treating psychiatric emergencies.
  • Identify one evidence-based suicide risk assessment that you could use to screen patients.
  • Identify one evidence-based violence risk assessment that you could use to screen patients.

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