What is it about?
We argue that insufficient evidence exists for the efficacy of involuntary hospitalization in reducing suicides among psychiatric patients. Furthermore, we argue that the culture of litigation around psychiatry in recent decades has made clinicians too quick to employ coercive hospitalization, even at the expense of the patients long term well being. We argue against the status quo in most American states, which transfers the responsibility for a suicidal patient's life from the patients themselves, onto psychiatric clinicians. Instead, we suggest that decision-making capacity be the standard clinicians use to assess whether a suicidal patient should be involuntarily hospitalized. Such a change has the potential to reduce suicides in the long run, by encouraging competent patients to develop the coping skills necessary to overcome their suicidal urges.
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Why is it important?
This paper is unique in that it argues that for some psychiatric patients, increasing their autonomy may paradoxically do more to reduce their risk to themselves than the traditional method of reducing their autonomy via hospitalization.
Read the Original
This page is a summary of: Reweighing the Ethical Tradeoffs in the Involuntary Hospitalization of Suicidal Patients, The American Journal of Bioethics, September 2019, Taylor & Francis, DOI: 10.1080/15265161.2019.1654557.
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