Medical Treatment and Physicians’ Legal Duties

  • Robert Schwartz
  • Paul Nathanson
  • Jack Hardwick
  • Laura Mason
  • Nancy Scanlan Neary

Abstract

An alternative that goes hand-in-hand with limited guardianship and conservatorship is medical treatment. In the past, behavioral symptoms that are associated with aging evoked “therapeutic nihilism.”1 The attitude that nothing could be done for an elderly person with symptoms of mental illness led to custodial care in hospitals and nursing homes, rather than to effective treatment programs. A growing body of medical opinion, however, disagrees with the belief that mental disorders associated with old age are unbeatable.2 If many such disorders are treatable, then the need for plenary guardianship should be dramatically limited, or at least postponed for a seemingly incompetent patient until after a treatment program is administered. However, in the context of treating an elderly person with symptoms of a mental disorder, a physician will encounter situations in which he or she is required by law to act. Even when no legal compulsion may be present, the law may offer a physician options for action that may be of benefit to his or her patient.

Keywords

Toxicity Dementia Assure Capron Dine 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York, Inc. 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert Schwartz
  • Paul Nathanson
  • Jack Hardwick
  • Laura Mason
  • Nancy Scanlan Neary

There are no affiliations available

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