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By Thomas Szasz

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Extra info for Law, Liberty, and Psychiatry

Sample text

If HCPs must turn to the courts every time a patient's competence is in doubt, it will be difficult if not impossible to provide health care. The courts are known for thorough, not quick, consideration of problems. , making certain that all parties have competent legal counsel) is much too unwieldy and expensive to be of use in managing day-to-day patient care. Manyperhaps even mostpatients would suffer increased disability and suffering while awaiting determinations of their competence. Some would die.

She therefore has an interest in getting as much excitement from this life as possible. This month she is off to Tanzania for a photographic safari; next month she is off to scale Mt. McKinley. Another person who believes in a Judeo-Christian God may value a life ordered by the Ten Commandments. Her goal is a life that is as Christ-like as possible; she has an interest in preparing herself for an eternal life in Heaven. This year she is off to Somalia to help distribute food to the starving; next year she will devote her energies to assisting Mother Theresa.

Lastly, respect for autonomy requires freedom from inhibitions that impede decision-making ability and authority. , pressure from family, friends, or HCPs to choose a particular option). Autonomy requires that patients not be forced to make particular choices (though they may be encouraged to do so). A word of caution. HCPs may be tempted to reason thusly: I will find out what the patient's values, goals, and interests are; then I will respect them by choosing the medical regimen that will most likely enhance or protect these values.

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Law, Liberty, and Psychiatry by Thomas Szasz


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