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August 1, 1980

Right to Treatment-Reply

Author Affiliations

American Medical Association Chicago

JAMA. 1980;244(5):436. doi:10.1001/jama.1980.03310050013007

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In Reply.—  The correspondents state that Addington vs Texas did not mandate any particular "right to treatment." Indeed, neither the main article nor the editorial comment so stated, and no such contention was intended. The Addington opinion related solely to the standard of proof required for the involuntary commitment of the mentally ill.The question of the right to treatment is much too complex to debate in this limited response. However, it is certainly clear that a person who has been involuntarily committed to a state mental institution is entitled to receive the care and treatment that are appropriate and available for his condition. The state incurs that obligation when it involuntarily deprives the patient of his liberty. The state cannot involuntarily commit a person to a mental institution as a sort of "human garage" where mentally ill are simply "parked" or "stored." In addition to food, clothing, and shelter,