Can Baker Act Patients Refuse Treatment?

2 min


The Baker Act empowers police officers, physicians, and family members to commit someone to a 72-hour involuntary mental health examination. Both children and adults can be (Baker Acted), and the experience is horrifying for everyone involved.

Something article is meant to provide an overview of what to expect if this occurs to a person, but keep in mind that Baker Act proceedings run quickly, and baker act lawyers know this. Keep in mind, speak to an attorney as soon as possible to examine your legal options.

A Justifiable Cause

If a doctor or an officer believes that an individual has a mental illness that requires an involuntary mental health evaluation, the individual may be Baker Acted.

  1. The individual has denied voluntary evaluation or cannot determine if the test is necessary.
  2. If treatment is not offered, the individual may suffer from neglect.
  3. If the sickness is not treated, it may result in physical or emotional harm to them or others.

Can A Person Refuse Treatment?

If anyone you know has been Baker Acted (placed in a psychiatric facility for an involuntary mental health examination), one of the most frequently asked questions is whether the patient has the right to refuse psychiatric medication. This is a common question by parents who are unsure about giving their young children psychiatric medicines. The solution to this issue is more complicated than it appears on the surface.

The Constitution protects an individual’s right to refuse medication and other forms of medical care, including parents’ right to refuse to medicate their children. The right is derived from the concept of “substantive due process” and constitutional protections for adults’ privacy. The right of a parent or legal guardian to refuse medication for their children is founded on the most fundamental safeguards offered to parents about care and child-raising decisions for their children. The exception is if the sick person poses a danger to himself or others.

Incapacitated Individuals

When an adult is judged incapable of making health care decisions and a guardian advocate is appointed, the guardian advocate makes prescription decisions on the patient’s behalf. A family member, legal guardian, or friend may ask the court to vacate these decisions.

The Irony Of Medications

There are reasons to be cautious in prescribing psychotropic medications based on the patient’s unique circumstances, diagnosis, and needs. There are more aspects to consider, which many people are unaware of. Antidepressant efficacy has been substantially questioned during the last decade. While these medications may be beneficial for a small number of persons, typically those with really severe and intractable symptoms, they are ineffective for the great majority.

Antipsychotic medications or mood stabilizers, as they are usually referred to, are also a risk. These are the most often prescribed drugs for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder people. The issue is that younger children, particularly those under the age of 14, cannot receive an accurate diagnosis for either of these disorders. Many factors can trigger bipolar behavior, and medicating a child might impair their brain and physical development.

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