Tuesday, June 06, 2006
Side Effects: Possible Death
This recent post about involuntary medication & the potential to leave patients in limbo in the hospital reminded me of the recent dilemma involving Russell Weston, the Capital Hill shooter. Eight years ago this chronically mentally ill man walked into the Capitol and killed two people, wounding a third. Although suffering a chest wound, he received treatment at the scene and survived. He was hospitalized and taken to court for involuntary medication. The medication order was initially granted but the order was stayed to allow his public defenders time to appeal. The issue: if restored to competence, Weston could face the death penalty. Thus, he was kept untreated for years while the issue was litigated. Finally, in 2002, the Supreme Court turned down his final appeal and he was treated involuntarily. A four year hospitalization without treatment.