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Involuntary Medication and the Case of Joyce Brown
Francine Cournos
Psychiatric Services 1989; doi:
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The author thanks Stephan Haimowitz, J.D., and Karen McKinnon, M.A.

Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, The Washington Heights Community Service of the New York State Psychiatric Institute, 722 West 168th Street, New York, New York 10032

1989 by the American Psychiatric Association

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Abstract

In October 1987, Joyce Brown became the first homeless person removed from New York City's streets and hospitalized under a city initiative that authorized evaluation of "gravely disabled" homeless pensons for admission to inpatient psychiatric treatment. Miss Brown's highly publicized and ultimately successful count battle to prevent a course of forced medication is described. Her refusal of medication was upheld based on hen capacity to understand the proposed treatment and to express a partially rational opinion about it. The author, who served as independent psychiatric consultant to the court on the decision about Miss Brown's involuntary medication, uses the case to illustrate some of the problems of involuntary psychiatric intervention, including the commitment of competent patients and the lack of a coherent approach to persistent treatment refusal.

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Involuntary medication and the case of Joyce Brown. Hosp Community Psychiatry 1989;40(7):736-40.