AMA Journal of Ethics®

Illuminating the art of medicine

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AMA Journal of Ethics®

Illuminating the art of medicine

Virtual Mentor. October 2003, Volume 5, Number 10.

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October 2003 Contents


Ethics Poll

Psychotropic drugs should be prescribed:
Only for patients with clinical psychiatric diagnoses.
At the physician's discretion, to effect desired attitude and behavior change even in the absence of clinical psychiatric diagnoses.

Do you think criminal defendants with schizophrenia should be involuntarily medicated so that they can stand trial?
Only in non-death penalty situations.

Confidentiality between patient and psychiatrist:
Should be absolute, no exceptions.
Should be waived in cases of duty to warn third parties of imminent danger.

Do you think electroconvulsive therapy is a useful therapy for certain psychiatric illnesses if fully informed consent is obtained?

Is it fair to have a coverage cap (eg, number of office visits) for treatment of mental illness when there is no such cap for treatment of physical illness?

From the Editor

Jumping Brain
Audiey Kao
Full Text

Educating for Professionalism

Clinical Cases

Drugs for the Shy?
Commentary by Jeremy A. Lazarus
Full Text

Psychiatrist's Role in Involuntary Hospitalization
Commentary by Jennifer Bremer, Roy Lubit and Robert Orr
Full Text

Confidentiality of Patient Records Requested by the Court
Commentary by Howard Zonana and Jeffrey L. Metzner
Full Text

Medicine for Malcolm
Commentary by Mary G. Burke
Full Text

Journal Discussion

Pro/Con: Outpatient Commitment for the Severely Mentally Ill
Jacob Kurlander
Full Text

Medical Education

Stigma, Society, and Specialty Choice: What's Going On?
Sam Huber
Full Text

Law, Policy, and Society

Health Law

In Defense of Exceptions to Confidentiality
Dudley Stewart
Full Text

In Defense of Absolute Confidentiality
Kenneth Kipnis
Full Text

Policy Forum

Psychotropic Medications and Criminal Defendants
Robert M. Wettstein
Full Text

Medicine and Society

Access to Mental Health Care: A Civil Rights Issue
Ralph Ibson
Full Text

Op-Ed and Correspondence


The Ethics of Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)
Loren R. Mosher and David Cohen
Full Text

Ethical Considerations with Electroconvulsive Therapy
Richard D. Weiner
Full Text

History, Art, and Narrative

Medical Humanities

Understanding Psychotropic Medications as Literary Symbols
Jonathan M. Metzl
Full Text


Suggested Readings and Resources
Full Text

Test Questions
Full Text

About the Contributors
Full Text