Professor Rita Barnett-Rose’s article “
Informed Consent, Psychotropic Medications, and a Prescribing Physician’s Duty to Disclose Safer Alternative Treatments
” was published in the
DePaul Journal of Health Care Law
(Volume 16, Number 1, Page 67, 2014).

Excerpt from the abstract:

barnett-rose-depaul-journal-cover“The use of psychotropic medication to treat any presumed mental health disorder always involves serious risks of harm. Accordingly, before prescribing psychotropic medication to control the behaviors associated with a presumed mental health disorder, prescribing physicians are required, under various medical ethical guidelines and informed consent laws, to first disclose information regarding available alternative treatment options, and the risks and benefits of such alternative treatment options. Indeed, because psychotropic medications are themselves experimental treatments due to the concededly unknown etiology of most mental health disorders, disclosing safer alternative treatments would seem to be a particularly critical aspect of a prescribing physician’s informed consent obligations in the mental health arena.
This article is the first to propose that negligence-based informed consent laws are simply unsuitable in the mental health context and should be replaced entirely by dignitary-based statutory models that would recognize a legal harm for a physician’s failure to provide mental health patients and their legal surrogates with available and material information relating to safer alternative treatments to psychotropic medication. Unless informed consent laws governing mental health care are rewritten and enforced to protect patients, and not physicians, mental health patients will likely continue to be deprived of meaningful participation in their own mental health care.”

View the full publication


Professor Rita Barnett-Rose

Professor Rita Barnett-Rose
is an associate professor of Legal Research and Writing at Chapman University Dale E. Fowler School of Law. Prior to joining Chapman in 2008, Professor Barnett-Rose was a professor of Legal Writing at California Western School of Law and a former Legal Research and Writing adjunct professor at Whittier School of Law. Prior to her teaching career, Professor Barnett-Rose was an associate with the international law firm of Latham & Watkins, practicing mainly in the area of intellectual property. She then joined the corporate boutique firm of Whalen, LLP, where she engaged in both general corporate and Intellectual Property transactional work. Professor Barnett-Rose has also served as a juvenile dependency attorney in the San Diego juvenile courts. She is a produced playwright, an optioned screenwriter and has worked on assignment as a screenwriter for Walt Disney Studios. A member of the State Bar of California, Professor Barnett-Rose’s
pro bono
work has included services for the California Lawyers for the Arts, Orangewood Children’s Home, and the Second Harvest Food Bank.

See more of Professor Barnett-Rose’s writings