Fear of Litigation

    Perlin says the fear of litigation among institutions is a driving force in why our society has not tried to address this problem and fulfill the status quo of rights to individuals including the mentally ill. Perlin poses this question:

“[H]ow will the well-documented fear of many mental health professionals of being sued –– what some commentators term “litigaphobia”–– affect the adoption of, or compliance with, any policy that appears to increase the potential for patients’ sexual activity (for fear that litigation might quickly follow unwanted births or the spread of sexually transmitted diseases)?”(493 Perlin)

However, this fear completely disregards the possibility of patients suing for violations of their statutory rights. Besides statutory rights, they may also sue over their international human rights, or their Americans with Disabilities Act rights. The risk that under these policies, a patient could sue for deprivation of sexual autonomy, is never argued over in this specific policy debate.
    Furthermore, Perlin argues that a failure to take the issue of patient sexual autonomy seriously, also fails to understand the importance intimate relationships between patients. The opportunity for patients to engage in intimate relationships is crucial to a patients ability to reintegrate themselves into society upon release.

 

    http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1337164

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