Treatment Without Consent: Law, Psychiatry and the Treatment of Mentally Disordered People Since 1845

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Routledge, 1996 - Law - 356 pages
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Phil Fennell's study traces the history of the treatment of mental disorder in Britain over the last 150 years. It focuses specifically on treatment without consent, analysing the provisions of legislation under which it has been authorised.
This book examines the range of different forms which treatment interventions have taken: physical and mechanical restraint, seclusion, routine and emergency chemical sedation, force feeding, psychosurgery and shock therapy. Controversial aspects of present-day treatments, like Electro Convulsive Therapy and neuroleptic medication, are examined, and the vexed issue of sterilisation of people with learning disabilities is discussed.
Phil Fennell investigates the way perceptions of consent have changed over the period. He shows how, well into the second half of this century, it was widely believed that relatives could consent to the treatment of a mentally disordered person. This contrasts with present-day statutory and common law rules, and the recommendations of the Law Commission for a new legal regime to cover the treatment of people without mental capacity.

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