Wednesday, December 19, 2012

French Psychiatrist Convicted When Her Patient Commits Murder

The Sandy Hook massacre has drawn some attention to the American practice of letting schizophrenics run free.

We have made it far more difficult to commit psychotics involuntarily, and we are paying the price.

Other countries are not so lenient. Yesterday, a court in Marseilles, France found psychiatrist Daniele Canarelli guilty of involuntary manslaughter for failing to recognize the danger her patient faced and for failing to have him committed involuntarily.

Dr. Canarelli had been seeing the patient for four years. She had rejected the advice of her colleagues that her patient should be followed by another psychiatrist and confined against his will. The patient, a paranoid schizophrenic, had a long history of involuntary commitment.

The court judged Dr. Canarelli negligent and sentenced her to a one year suspended sentence. They also fined her.

If the verdict is upheld, French psychiatrists will henceforth err on the side of involuntary commitment. We do not know whether the court's decision was influenced by events in Sandy Hook.

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