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The Obviously Ill Patient in Need of Treatment: A Fourth Standard for Civil Commitment
Darold A. Treffert
Psychiatric Services 1985; doi:
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The Fond Du Lac County Health Care Center, 459 East First Street, Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin 54935

1985 American Psychiatric Association

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Abstract

The three relatively standard criteria currently contained in most state civil commitment laws (danger to self, danger to others, and gravely disabled) have forced many obviously ill patients to deteriorate to the point of dangerousness before receiving treatment, to become criminalized, or to wander the streets untreated. After discussing the origins of present civil commitment laws and the plight of obviously ill patients, the author details the cooperative effort of several groups in Wisconsin to codify a fourth standard for civil commitment that would ensure that obviously ill patients receive treatment with proper procedural and due process safeguards. Other statutory alternatives to remedy the plight of obviously ill patients are also discussed.

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