Petition for Court Ordered Treatment In Arizona

In In re MH 94-00592, 182 Ariz. 440, 897 P.2d 742 (App. 1995), the superior court dismissed the petition for court-ordered treatment ("PCOT") following an evidentiary hearing, finding that the state hospital failed to show that the patient was exhibiting current behavior demonstrating an acute or persistent disability. Id. at 442, 897 P.2d at 744. On appeal, the Court affirmed on a different ground, concluding that neither physician provided clear and convincing evidence of a discussion with the patient about the advantages and disadvantages of recommended treatment, or that an effort to do so would have been futile. Id. at 447, 897 P.2d at 749. One of the physicians had testified in that case that as she began to discuss the recommended treatment, the patient became "vulgar, sarcastic, and 'even like threatening.'" Id. at 446, 897 P.2d at 748. The physician then terminated the session. Id. Acknowledging that some degree of resistance with certain patients can be expected, we found the record did not show that the patient's "agitation" prevented further attempts to discuss treatment options as required by the statute. Id. The Court also recognized, however, that certain actions by a patient, such as "excessive verbal abuse, physical abuse, repeatedly walking away when the physicians attempt to discuss the matters, or nonresponsiveness," may "render further explanation by the physician unnecessary." Id.