Stable mental patients get say in future treatment

By GAYLE COULTER State Journal Staff Writer Published:

Anyone old enough to have seen One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest in 1975 witnessed the horror of Jack Nicholson being forced to endure electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) against his will.

Thanks to House Bill 99 signed into law Tuesday by Gov. Paul Patton, something like that can't happen to mentally ill patients in Kentucky.

The new law grants mentally ill patients, commonly referred to as consumers, the right to create an advance directive expressing their medication and treatment preferences. The document, created at a time when the consumer is stable, tells hospital care providers what patients would or would not want done when they are not stable.

For example, a patient can say "I don't want Haldol (a prescription medication used to manage psychotic disorders) ever put in my body again," said Molly Clouse with the Kentucky Consumer Advocate Network. "Or they can say whether they would want ECT. The whole thing is based on choice."

For years, Clouse said mentally ill patients have had little or no voice in their treatment options.

For more on this story, see the latest State Journal.

Want to leave your comments?

Sign in or Register to comment.