IL First District Appellate Court: Involuntary Electroconvulsive Therapy Appeal

Disability Justice, News, Transforming Mental Health Crisis Response

A person sadly sitting slumped over on a bench outside at night.

This appeal involves Appellant, John F., a person with no history of mental illness who, at age 65, after receiving spinal injections for back pain, developed alleged mental health symptoms and whose doctor recommended electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). He declined, based on the risk of memory loss cited in the written information provided to him. His doctor accepted that decision. A few months later, his doctor petitioned for involuntary ECT after Mr. F. again declined ECT for the same reason. This time the doctor believed Mr. F. lacked the capacity to make a reasoned decision.

The Cook County Circuit Court (Chicago) ordered involuntary ECT (June 8, 2022), the First District appellate court stayed the order (June 17, 2022), and Mr. F. has had no ECT to date.

This appeal involves the right to bodily autonomy, the right to personal decision-making, and the right to substituted judgment – application of one’s express wishes when considered competent – if currently lacking decisional capacity. The appeal was granted on July 14, 2022.

Read the full appeal on NYLPI’s website.


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