Maryland’s legislature is exuberantly moving forward with proposals to force medications on unwilling patients. New laws under consideration are coercion tactics to medicate both inpatient and not hospitalized individuals who may be subject to psychological stress. How the judicial arm of Maryland government will interplay with these potential legislative efforts is yet to be determined.
National debate reached a crescendo concerning the mentally disabled amongst us after the massacre inside Sandy Hook Elementary School. Adam Lanza, mentally challenged for years, finally went berserk taking 27 lives then his own. Multiple psychiatric ailments were attributed to Lanza who received treatment for them intermittently from the time he was in elementary school. Adequacy of therapy was the central theme in the aftermath of this egregious event. Lanza could not be forced to take pharmaceuticals to control his behavior. With new laws under consideration that scenario may change.
Division in the medical community on forced medication protocols for those with the gamut of mental illnesses is significant. Many questions need to be answered to satisfy the hordes of practicing physicians who will be called upon to apply these therapies. Is informed consent necessary? Will the Maryland’s Attorney General Office be waiting with a noose if the doctor does not believe and or apply the therapies within the protocol? Maryland’s Board of Physicians: where do they stand on this issue? Are physicians protected against malpractice suits when the patient objects to being drugged? Who writes the standards of care for this exploitation of the patient, lawyers or physicians? The list of questions is long and involved. Maryland Physicians are fully aware the legal community will benefit most from this State overreach into its citizens’ lives.
Proof that intensely medicating people will reduce levels of violent crimes has yet to evolve. Draconian measures under consideration are reminiscent of controls utilized in the most undemocratic of societies. Worse, in the event this egregious legislative effort is allowed to breathe, what next? School children who are not already taking psycho-tropics could be forced on to them or be expelled. Once this door is opened, bureaucrats may enforce these drugs on an array of people. Before legislation of forced medicating people is placed into effect studies need to be performed and or reviewed to justify this approach. Maryland’s legislature does not have the cerebral ability to either justify this move or the integrity to make it work for those who will potentially benefit most. Perhaps our legislators should take a tour of the State Constitution and its big brother in the federal domain before the few rights Marylanders have left move off into the sunset.
Mark Davis MD, President of Davis Book Reviews and Healthnets Review Services.
Author of Demons of Democracy and his newest work, Obamacare: Dead on Arrival, A Prescription for Disaster.