August 23, 2010 01:40 PM Eastern Daylight Time
Physicians' and Psychiatric Patients' Rights Protected in Court Decision Argued by Law Firm of Abrams Fensterman
NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The New York State Appellate Division, First Department, recently ruled that physicians may retain the right to use professional discretion in hospitalizing psychiatric patients. Representing Montefiore North Medical Center, Eric Broutman, Esq., of the full-service law firm Abrams, Fensterman, Fensterman, Eisman, Formato, Ferrara & Einiger LLP successfully argued that it should uphold a law that allows different lengths of psychiatric hospitalization, depending on patient needs, thereby protecting physician discretion in treating psychiatric patients. Broutman is an attorney in the New York-based firm's healthcare law division.
"The Court agreed that unless the Legislature specifically required a distinction, the Court would not unnecessarily interfere with how psychiatrists treat their patients."
Carolyn Reinach Wolf, Esq., a national leader in mental health law and partner at Abrams Fensterman, notes: "Our firm's expertise in the area of mental health law gave us a clear view of exactly how to protect the rights of psychiatric units of hospitals and physicians in order to ensure that mental health patients receive optimum professional psychiatric care."
The Mental Hygiene Legal Service, the State agency charged with representing in-patient psychiatric patients had challenged a patient's rights to be treated according to the physician's discretion. The agency argued that psychiatric patients should only be admitted under the emergency admission standard (Mental Hygiene Law 9.39), which requires the patient to meet very specific admission criteria and only allows hospitalization of up to 15 days. This new ruling maintains physicians' rights to opt to admit patients under Mental Hygiene Law Mental Hygiene Law 9.27, which allows hospitalization up to 60 days. The court determined that a physician is entitled to hospitalize the patient under either statute, as they deem to be clinically appropriate, based solely on their evaluation of the patient's psychiatric condition at the time of admission.
According to Broutman, "The Court agreed that unless the Legislature specifically required a distinction, the Court would not unnecessarily interfere with how psychiatrists treat their patients."
Abrams Fensterman was established in 2000, bringing together a team of top attorneys with decades of experience in specific areas of law. With offices in Lake Success, New York City, Brooklyn, Rochester and Florida, the firm is structured to provide sophisticated legal representation across a range of practice areas. One of the areas in which the firm has built its excellent reputation is as the "go-to" law firm for the healthcare industry. The firm represents thousands of healthcare providers, including hospitals, nursing homes and medical providers, ranging from individual physicians to large hospitals and medical providers.
Abrams, Fensterman, Fensterman, Eisman, Formato, Ferrara & Einiger LLP
Adam Greenberg, 516-328-2300 ext. 211