Wednesday, February 9, 2005
We recently examined the new legislation permitting doctors to refuse certain treatments to patients when those treatments conflicted with their moral and religious beliefs - now lets focus on the patient's right to refuse treatment, specifically mentally ill patients who may want to refuse treatment.
Professor Michael Perlin, an internationally-known and respected scholar concerning the rights of the mentally disabled, has written a new piece on the rights of involuntarily committed psychiatric patients to refuse treatment. The article is entitled, "And My Best Friend, My Doctor, Won't Even Say What It is I've Got: The Role and Significance of Counsel in Right to Refuse Treatment Cases," is forthcoming in the San Diego Law Review. His article addresses an often-ignored topic -- the availability and adequacy of counsel to represent patients who seek to assert this right to refuse. His abstract states, "Simply put, if active, trained counsel is not provided for patients seeking to interpose this right, then the right becomes nothing more than a paper document: useless and meaningless (and perhaps, counterproductive) in the real world, and yet another in a series of shameful pretexts that dominate this area of the law."
To see the full article and an abstract, click here. [bm]