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Coercion in the Treatment of Anorexia Nervosa: Clinical, Demographic and Legal Implications

Medicine and Law, Vol. 24, p. 1

Posted: 10 Jan 2005  

Terry Carney

The University of Sydney Law School

David Tait

University of Canberra

Alison Wakefield

Royal Prince Alfred Hospital

Miriam Ingvarson

Mental Health Legal Centre

Stephen Touyz

University of Sydney

Abstract

Because of its high mortality and treatment resistence, clinicians sometimes invoke the law in aid of retaining their most acutely ill-patients in treatment or re-feeding programs. Depending on the jurisdiction, various lawsincluding mental health and adult guardianship lawshave been invoked to achieve this objective (Carney, Tait, Saunders, Touyz & Beumont, 2003). Until recently, little was known about the therapeutic impact of coercion on patients (Saunders, 2001, Carney & Saunders 2003), or the relative advantages of different avenues of coercion (Carney, Saunders, Tait, Touyz & Ingvarson 2004). Most obscure of all, however, has been our understanding of the factors influencing clinical decisions within specialist anorexia treatment units regarding which in-patients will be selected for coerced treatment. This paper reports legal and ethical implications of findings from analysis of data gathered from a major Australian specialist anorexia treatment facility over a period of nearly 5 years.

Keywords: Anorexia, regulation, coercion, ethics

JEL Classification: I12, K32

Suggested Citation

Carney, Terry and Tait, David and Wakefield, Alison and Ingvarson, Miriam and Touyz, Stephen, Coercion in the Treatment of Anorexia Nervosa: Clinical, Demographic and Legal Implications. Medicine and Law, Vol. 24, p. 1. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=646281

Terry Carney (Contact Author)

The University of Sydney Law School ( email )

New Law Building, F10
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia

David Tait

University of Canberra ( email )

Law Faculty
Canberra, ACT 2601
Australia

Alison Wakefield

Royal Prince Alfred Hospital ( email )

Missenden Road
Camperdown NSW 2050
Australia

Miriam Ingvarson

Mental Health Legal Centre ( email )

Victoria
Australia

Stephen Touyz

University of Sydney ( email )

University of Sydney
Sydney NSW 2006, NC
Australia

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