Characteristics of district psychiatric committee decisions regarding discharge from compulsory hospitalization

Giladit Ofir*, Yuval Melamed, Avner Elizur

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In 1991 the authority of psychiatric committees responsible for judicial decisions concerning mentally ill individuals hospitalized compulsorily was greatly extended. The committees' work procedures have gradually been established despite lack of binding rules and regulations, often evolving from the dynamics of the field. Methods: The study population included 92 hospitalized patients. The examination was performed by administering a questionnaire, reading a protocol of the latest committee hearing and perusing the patient record. Results: The committee tends to decide gradually about discharge from hospitalization and sometimes to include it as part of a rehabilitation process. The reasoning leading to discharge is generally from the field of law. Conclusions: Tension between medical and legal approaches often underlies psychiatric committee work. Generally, the committee tends to accept the position of the treating physicians. This may indicate that the two approaches are drawing closer to one another and that they have learned to work together cooperatively and fruitfully.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)615-624
Number of pages10
JournalMedicine and Law
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2004


  • Compulsory hospitalization
  • Distric psychiatric committees
  • Hospital discharge


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