Justifying involuntary psychiatric treatment on the basis of a judgment that a person lacks capacity is usually expressed in terms of a person’s ability to make a decision about his or her health and treatment. Typically, this relates to the ability to refuse treatment. Exactly what “capacity” means, however, and how one determines when another individual lacks capacity, or lacks sufficient capacity, in this context is particularly controversial, with the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities insisting (...) that involuntary treatment be abandoned altogether and capacity tests avoided.Capacity is a concept that has multiple meanings and applications across different disciplines and... (shrink)
It is now 10 years since the disease we now know as SARS—severe acute respiratory syndrome—caused more than 700 deaths around the world and made more than 8,000 people ill. More recently, in 2009 the global community experienced the first influenza pandemic of the 21st century—the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic. This paper analyses the major developments in international public health law relating to infectious diseases in the period since SARS and considers their implications for pandemic planning.
OBJECTIVE: This paper addresses the question of the circumstances which lead clinicians to use legal coercion in the management of patients with severe anorexia nervosa, and explores similarities and differences between such formal coercion and other forms of 'strong persuasion' in patient management. METHOD: Logistic regression and other statistical analysis was undertaken on 75 first admissions for anorexia nervosa from a sample of 117 successive admissions to an eating disorder facility in New South Wales, Australia, where an eating disorder was (...) the primary diagnosis. Admissions with other primary diagnoses, such as bulimia nervosa (25 episodes), and entries with a co morbid diagnosis (e.g. depression or opiate overdose), were discarded, leaving 96 admissions by 75 individuals. RESULTS: Resort to measures of legal coercion into treatment was found to be associated with three main indicators: the patient's past history (number of previous admissions); the complexity of their condition (the number of other psychiatric co morbidities); and their current health risk (measured either by Body Mass Index or the risk of re-feeding syndrome). CONCLUSIONS: Our study is consistent with the few earlier studies about indicators for legal coercion in anorexia nervosa management, and suggests that clinicians use legal coercion very sparingly, distinguishing legal coercion from other forms of close clinical management of patients. (shrink)