Covert Medication Administration Essay

832 Words Feb 27th, 2013 4 Pages
Legal and Ethical Issues in Medication AdministrationKarla ShircliffClinical Pharmacology NR120November 13, 2012
Theresa Wischmann, RN, MSN





AbstractThis paper is about an article I found online, published by The American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law. I found it to be very interesting and relevant in regards to the treatment of non-compliant psychiatric patients. It is about the covert administration of medications to patients, or administering medication without the patient’s knowledge. It presents many legal and ethical questions which I will discuss.

The legal and ethical issues presented by this article are multiple and varied. I was not aware that this practice took place, but I am not surprised that it does.
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I am inclined to agree with the practice of covert medication administration, but I do believe that it should be regulated, there should be specific guidelines governing the use of this controversial practice, as well as every attempt should be made to involve family members or loved ones in this decision process. The personal beliefs I cite to uphold my advocacy of this practice are that every measure should be taken to keep a patient from committing a harmful act on him/herself, as well as family members and the general public. A bipolar or psychotic patient who is medicationally non-compliant is not capable of making informed decisions and may actually have delusional thought and feelings. Maybe the patient has convinced himself that the world would be better off without him, or someone else. There are any number of scenarios which could arise in this situation, most likely none with a positive outcome. If a tragedy can be avoided by covertly administering a medication to a patient with violent or suicidal thoughts then in my mind there should be no question as to whether or not to follow through. I do of course understand that there are also many legal issues involved as well as ethical. Unfortunately this practice is also used in pediatrics, where informed consent is not required. And, in the case of an emergency, a person detained may be treated with antipsychotic medication over his or her objection…