Mental Health Law
Don Snow, age 45, has received outpatient treatment at ABC Mental Health Clinic for five years for a diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia. In the last 25 years, he has had four inpatient hospital admissions following violent attacks on members of his family. However, he has had no inpatient admissions during the last 8 years. Two days ago, during a therapy session, he acknowledged fantasies about harming his sister’s 8 year-old son and expressed a desire to purchase a shotgun. Further, just prior to this visit, a clinic nurse told the therapist that Don told her that the boy was “the devil and someone should do something about it.”
• Identify the main facts of the case. You may itemize these in a bulleted list.
• Identify any legal issues that are present, as well as the doctrines and/or duties that apply. You may itemize these in a bulleted list.
• If you were the therapist in this case, what actions would you take?
• If you were the health care administrator in this case, what could be your role and possible liability?