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Coercion of Voluntary Patients in an Open Hospital

PETER ROGER BREGGIN, MD
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1964;10(2):173-181. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1964.01720200069010.
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The long history of the open hospital, with its goal to limit the coercion of patients, has recently been reviewed.6,7 The open hospital may also be a field of study for more subtle forms of coercion that might go unnoticed in other hospitals. The absence of outright locked doors tends to draw attention to these more indirect forms of control over the patient. In an environment dedicated to the elimination of coercion, the staff and the patients will then be exquisitely sensitive to any which continues to manifest itself. In addition, the absence of the locked ward means that any coercion must be directed by an individual doctor against an individual patient, making it more painfully obvious to everyone in the hospital.

This ironic situation provides fertile ground for studying coercion. It might also be used by some as evidence for the inadequacy

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