Can we justify eliminating coercive measures in psychiatry?

Journal of Medical Ethics 35 (1):69-73 (2009)
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Abstract

The practice of coercive measures in psychiatry is controversial. Although some have suggested that it may be acceptable if patients are a danger to others or to themselves, others committed themselves to eliminate it. Ethical, legal and clinical considerations become more complex when the mental incapacity is temporary and when the coercive measures serve to restore autonomy. We discuss these issues, addressing the conflict between autonomy and beneficence/non-maleficence, human dignity, the experiences of patients and the effects of coercive measures. We argue that an appeal to respect autonomy and/or human dignity cannot be a sufficient reason to reject coercive measures. All together, these ethical aspects can be used both to support and to reject a non-seclusion approach. The total lack of controlled trials about the beneficial effects of coercive measures in different populations however, argues against the use of coercive measures

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Author's Profile

Jacob Van
United States Air Force Academy

References found in this work

Principles of Biomedical Ethics.Tom L. Beauchamp - 1979 - New York: Oxford University Press.
The Varieties of Dignity.Lennart Nordenfelt - 2004 - Health Care Analysis 12 (2):69-81.
The care perspective and autonomy.Marian A. Verkerk - 2001 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 4 (3):289-294.
Human dignity and the ethics and aesthetics of pain and suffering.Daryl Pullman - 2002 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 23 (1):75-94.

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