Mental health advocates hail court decision

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Some mental health advocates are praising a recent court decision striking down part of a Vermont law. They say Friday’s decision by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is a milestone in fighting discrimination against those with mental illness.

The ruling struck down a provision that allowed state officials to forcibly medicate patients or prisoners who had previously signed legal documents outlining the type of care they would want to receive. Those instructions would be left while the patient or prisoner was still found to be mentally competent.

But Mental Health Commissioner Susan Besio says the ruling puts health care professionals in a difficult quandary. She says there are no standards defining how broad a patient’s treatment wishes can be.

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