Vermont Lawmakers Consider Rights of Patients Committed Involuntarily

Recently, Vermont Senate committees conducted hearings regarding the involuntary administration of psychiatric medication for some psychiatric patients who pose a danger of harm to health care providers. Proposed legislation would “streamline the process” of involuntary commitment and would allow the state simultaneously to request authority to require a patient to take psychotropic medications against his or her will.

On January 22, during the hearings, Dr. Gordon Frankie, Chief of Psychiatry at the Rutland Regional Medical Center, offered anecdotal evidence regarding a patient who assaulted two of the Center’s staff members—leaving one member brain damaged. Dr. Frankie indicated that the staff awaited a court order before it could medicate the patient. The lawyer who directs Vermont’s Legal Aid’s Mental Health Law Project, Jack McCullough, claims that the commitment process operates appropriately and requires no intervention.

Read more here.

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