Aden v. Younger

57 Cal. App. 3d 662, 129 Cal. Rptr. 535 (1976)

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Aden v. Younger

California Court of Appeal
57 Cal. App. 3d 662, 129 Cal. Rptr. 535 (1976)

  • Written by Nicole Gray , JD

Facts

California instituted a regulatory scheme through its Welfare and Institutions Code whereby a substitute judgment was required for mentally ill patients to receive psychosurgery or electro-convulsive therapy. The regulations applied to all mentally ill patients who were either voluntarily or involuntarily admitted to a mental-health facility. The regulations were enacted to protect mentally ill patients’ rights to refuse treatment. The regulations of psychosurgery and shock therapy were nearly identical and required that the critical need for either treatment be documented in the patient’s records along with documentation that all other treatments had been exhausted. Further, three nontreating physicians were required to verify the patient’s capacity to consent. For psychosurgery, the three nontreating physicians also had to unanimously agree with the decision to treat the patient with psychosurgery. Jane Doe (plaintiff), who had received shock therapy treatments before regulations went into effect, and Betty Roe (plaintiff), who wanted psychosurgery, sued the state’s attorney general, the director of health, and the board of medical examiners (defendants), alleging that the state laws regulating their desired procedures violated their rights to due process.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Brown, J.)

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