Medicolegal Problems of Elopement from Psychiatric Units

    Volume 30, Issue 1 (January 1985)

    ISSN: 0022-1198

    CODEN: JFSOAD

    Published Online: 1 January 1985

    Page Count: 6


    Molnar, G
    Clinical director, Department of Psychiatry, Erie County Medical Center, Buffalo, NY

    Keitner, L
    Executive director, Forensic Mental Health Service of Erie County, Buffalo, New York

    Swindall, L
    Assistant director for administration, Department of Psychiatry, Erie County Medical Center, Buffalo, NY

    (Received 14 May 1984; accepted 29 May 1984)

    Abstract

    Elopements from psychiatric units are a frequent but usually low-grade risk. However, they are sometimes followed by harmful consequences, for which the psychiatrist and the hospital may be held liable. We describe management methods developed to reduce such liability. These include a structured observation system and procedures to return elopers to the hospital or to refer them for community-based treatment. Data on 105 elopers and 360 controls were gathered and analyzed. Acceptance of some risk of elopement is inevitable on wards that follow the principle of treatment in the “least restrictive alternative.”


    Paper ID: JFS10963J

    DOI: 10.1520/JFS10963J

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    Author
    Title Medicolegal Problems of Elopement from Psychiatric Units
    Symposium , 0000-00-00
    Committee E30