Involuntary Psychiatric Hospitalization and Risk Management: The Ethical Considerations
Author(s)Christensen, MD, MA, Richard C.
KeywordsInvoluntary Psychiatric Hospitalization and Risk Management
The Ethical Considerations
Thomas Jefferson University
Jefferson Journal of Psychiatry
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AbstractDuring an era where physicians go to great lengths to limit personal risk and ensure self-protection from lawsuits, psychiatrists may be inclined to err on the side of involuntarily hospitalizing patients who have been briefly evaluated in the emergency room or clinic setting. However, conscientious treatment decisions, particularly those pertaining to involuntary psychiatric hospitalization, need to address at least two fundamental ethical concerns: the patient's best interests and the clinician's motives. This article discusses the moral components involved in clinical decision making and presents a case example which highlights the ethical implications of involuntary psychiatric hospitalizations.