Halachic perspective on involuntary psychiatric care of the mentally ill

D. A. Cohen, S. Ben-David

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


According to most mental health statutes in force around the world, doctors may involuntarily treat only acutely psychotic patients who present some danger to themselves, others or property. Chronic patients who, owing to volitional or cognitive defects, present a similar danger may not be thus treated. This may cause situations to arise where dangerous chronically ill patients who refuse treatment may cause serious harm because of physicians' inability to treat them. This article suggests changes to contemporary mental health statutes, in line with Judaic Halache codes, which view all mentally ill patients as potentially harmful, and require physicians to treat - voluntarily or involuntarily - all mentally ill persons.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)463-469
Number of pages7
JournalMedicine and Law
Issue number5-6
StatePublished - 1995
Externally publishedYes


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