The Common Law Power of withholding Consent

NHS referrals to drug rehab at record low despite Scotland's spiralling  overdose crisis | HeraldScotlandAn 18-year-old Sydney boy had been smoking marijuana on a regular basis since he'd left his parent's home to live independently. After a year he found it increasingly difficult to hold down a job and agreed to get help. His parents were fully medically insured, and encouraged their son to enter a private clinic rather than a state run drug rehab, assuming that the treatment would be better. The clinic was part of a multinational chain of medical and psychiatric facilities. In an extraordinary display of motivation the young man had already abstained from drugs for four days prior to the day of his admission. He entered the facility clean, sober and motivated to stay that way.

On the mother's subsequent visits she was disturbed that her son had been so heavily drugged he was barely rouseable. On questioning him, she learnt the staff had insisted he take the drugs. The mother, a registered nurse, discovered he was receiving tranquillisers and a strong anti-psychotic drug, in addition to extra "sleeping" medication the psychiatrist had prescribed. Since her son had never had a psychiatric illness and because of his other physical allergies she contacted her GP who wrote a letter to the psychiatrist stating that the boy had numerous chemical sensitivities and could not tolerate large amounts of drugs or unnecessary ones. He reiterated that the purpose of the boy's admission was detoxification and that the boy was clean of drugs when he entered the facility.

  1. (The boy's mother also enquired into the protocols of two other public detoxification/rehabilitation centres. Off the record she was told that doctors employed by the corporate hospital chains were known to prescribe large amounts of drugs to insured persons who often ended up on more drugs than the ones they were dependent on at the time of admission. On the other hand public hospital rehabs used drugs sparingly, only to assist with severe withdrawals whereas charity run centres on a shoe string budget used no drugs at all.)

The mother arranged for a conference with the facility's psychiatrist, herself, and her son, wherein she presented the GP's letter. The psychiatrist disregarded the doctor's letter. Appearing resentful of the mother's presence, he reminded her that the son was now 18, the age of majority. However the son himself requested no more drugs be prescribed for him, as he was motivated to get clean. A few days later the couple took their son out to lunch on leave from the clinic to a nearby restaurant.

The young man was drowsy and slurringly related that the staff frequently brought him medication and insisted they had the right to medicate him, anytime they considered it necessary, with any drug they deemed necessary. Moreover, the son told them that the psychiatrist had presented him with a written agreement to that effect earlier that morning, which the young man had had the presence of mind not to sign, even in his drug addled state. His parents were familiar with Common Law rights and informed their son that they considered he was in clear danger of being forcibly drugged and hospitalised if he signed such a document in that treatment facility.

The mother urged her son to leave the facility immediately and return home with them. To the parent's dismay their son refused at that time, telling them he wanted to "handle it myself". Later that evening the boy left the treatment facility and travelled home on public transport.

He had not signed any documents giving his own consent to possible involuntary incarceration at the mental "health" facility. The parents were able to convey to their son that his consent was a powerful legal instrument not to be given lightly, and not without consulting with a trusted advisor first. The boy recovered and remains well. Scores of others are not so lucky. Many psychiatric abuses begin after voluntary consent is given without consulting a legal adviser. It then continues by the mental "health" system's statute provisions. Most health consumers are still unaware of the system's capability to betray and abuse human rights. It is now more important than ever to investigate health care facilities thoroughly before entrusting a loved one to their care.

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