Right to refuse treatment: impact of Rivers v. Katz.

J. R. Ciccone, J. F. Tokoli, C. D. Clements and T. E. Gift,
Bull. Amer. Acad. Psychiatry & the Law 18(2): 203-15, 1990.
This article examines the impact of the New York court decision, Rivers v. Katz, which in June 1986 dramatically changed the state procedure for responding to involuntarily committed psychiatric patients who formally refused psychopharmacologic treatment. The court rejected the medically administered review process that had been used to respond to involuntarily committed psychiatric patients who formally refused medication, and replaced it with a judicial determination of competent and "substituted judgment" provided by the court. Post-Rivers, the rate of patients consistently refusing treatment decreased, and the time from refusal to resolution increased. The clinical, legal, and economic implications of the Rivers procedure are discussed.