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Medical Treatment

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Chapter Summary

For purposes of this book, the medical treatment of people by mental health services raises two sorts of problem. The first arises when treatment is unavailable, or at least, unavailable at a standard desired by the person seeking treatment or his or her carers. The second concerns the rights of people to refuse psychiatric or related medical treatment. Analysis of treatment rights under the ECHR is problematic, as here more than ever, the relevant issues were almost certainly not in the minds of the authors of the treaty. Nonetheless, the issues are of fundamental importance. The Herczegfalvy v. Austria case is discussed at length in the chapter, regarding consent to psychiatric treatment. The fact that a treatment for mental disability is made available does not mean that the patient is necessarily obliged to accept the treatment. Reasons for refusal are many. Adverse effects are certainly one.

Keywords: consent; ECHR; Herczegfalvy v. Austria case; involuntary treatment; medical treatment; mental disability; overly intrusive treatment; psychiatric treatment; treatment rights



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