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Some Comments on "The Right to Treatment"

MORTON BIRNBAUM, LLB, MD
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1965;13(1):34-45. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1965.01730010036005.
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THE purpose of this paper is to advocate before a medical audience the recognition and enforcement of the legal right of a mentally ill inmate of a state mental institution to adequate care and treatment for his mental illness. For convenience, this right has been referred to as the right to treatment.1

At present, our law has not recognized this legal right,2,3 although our society undoubtedly recognizes a moral right to treatment. If the legal right to treatment were to be recognized and enforced, it will be shown that the standards of care and treatment probably will be raised for the more than 500,000 Americans who are now inmates of state mental institutions4 and who now usually receive inadequate care and treatment; however, before discussing, in detail, the scope and probable effects of the right to treatment, it will undoubtedly be worthwhile to discuss

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