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Clinical Psychiatry and the Law, Second Edition

Robert I. Simon, M.D.

  • ISBN 978-1-58562-167-5
  • Item #62167

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Updates to this edition:

  • Clinical and legal issues in the use of clozapine in treatment of schizophrenia
  • Clinical information and new cases involving tardive dyskinesia
  • Changes in civil and criminal law regarding right to refuse treatment
  • An update of clinical guidelines and legal regulations of ECT
  • An update on suicide risk assessment and new legal cases involving suicide
  • An update on violence risk assessment and new legal cases involving the duty to protect endangered third parties
  • New statutes and criminal sanctions regarding sexual misconduct
  • New statutes limiting the liability of therapists toward third parties who are injured or killed by patients
  • Changes in the relationship between psychiatrists and nonmedical therapists
  • Regulatory developments regarding physician impairment
  • Numerous tables and an updated glossary of legal terms
  • New section on common terms and abbreviations in legal citations


  • The Psychiatrist-Patient Relationship.

    Creation of the psychiatrist-patient relationship. The psychiatrist as a fiduciary: avoiding the double agent role. The unduly defensive psychiatrist and the provision of substandard care. Confidentiality in clinical practice. Protecting the confidentiality of the clinical record: a life-and-death matter.

    Patient Rights.

    The right to refuse treatment and the therapeutic alliance. Informed consent: maintaining a clinical perspective. Involuntary hospitalization: patient rights and professional duties.

    Somatic Therapies.

    Drug therapy and the varieties of legal liability. Tardive dyskinesia: reducing legal liability through risk-benefit analysis. Electroconvulsive therapy and the acutely psychotic, nonconsenting patient.

    Violent Patients.

    Clinical risk management of the suicidal patient. Clinical approaches to the duty to warn and protect endangered third persons. Preventing the premature release of dangerous patients. Restraint, seclusion, and the least-restrictive alternative.

    Negligent Treatment.

    Negligent psychotherapy: maintaining treatment boundaries with the borderline patient. Undue familiarity: the sexual misconduct of psychotherapists. Abandonment and the psychiatrist's duty to care for the patient. Radical therapies and intentional torts. The legal consequences of outrageous behavior toward patients.

    The Psychiatrist.

    The psychiatrist's professional relationship with nonmedical therapists. Defamation in clinical practice. The impaired psychiatrist. The psychiatrist must survive: understanding and coping with malpractice litigation. Epilogue: We are belegaled. Appendix 1: Principles of Medical Ethics With Annotations Especially Applicable to Psychiatry. Appendix 2: Sample forms. Appendix 3: Glossary of legal terms. Appendix 4: Common abbreviations and terms used in legal citations. Table of cases. Index.

About the Authors

Robert I. Simon, M.D., is Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the Program in Psychiatry and Law at Georgetown University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C.

The book offers a treasure chest of useful information in the form of both case citations with discussion and practical advice that psychiatrists can follow in rendering professional duty while maintaining the rights of their patients. . . . It should be no surprise to any reader that I wholeheartedly enjoyed this book and found that it reads like a novel and should prove to be of invaluable assistance to those who practice psychiatry.—Bruce L. Danto, M.D., JAMA, 2/1/1993

On psychiatric malpractice this book is unrivaled, a rarity: a wonderful marriage of theory and practice. An incisive book, one that provides a clear guide for practice and a solid foundation for recognizing, analyzing, and ultimately resolving complex problems. Thoroughly stimulating, amazingly informative, always readable, and spiced here and there with a bit of humor. An illuminating source on the standard of care in the practice of psychiatry.—Ralph Slovenko, L.L.B., Ph.D., Professor of Law and Psychiatry, Wayne State University

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