The process of involuntary psychiatric examination and/or hospitalization is a rare experience for the average modern man. As part of it, the citizen shall be subjected to a restriction of his freedom and forced hospitalization without himself having sought neither of the above situations.The rarity of this experience, assisted by the severity of the threat to individual freedom and dignity that leads to, impose the existence of a clear legal framework which will describe the permissive or non-implementation of procedures, the pious keeping on behalf of the stakeholders of these legal provisions and the operation of a reliable system of registration and control of these processes. In our country legal act nr.2071 for involuntary hospitalization in a psychiatric unit became the legal framework, which in 1992 was decided to be adopted, to describe the necessary conditions and requirements needed be fulfilled for the realization of involuntary examination and/or hospitalization in patients with mental illness, while respecting individual rights and freedoms. Although the replacement of previous relevant law with the adoption of this law was hailed by many sides, full implementation thereafter and, where applicable, “stumbled” because it never met with the full agreement of all parties involved. It is estimated that, in Greece, 40 to 50% of all hospitalizations taking place in public psychiatric units are involuntary hospitalizations. This percentage is extremely high, being nearly four times the European average. Therefore, it is now more than ever important to undertake initiatives towards re-testing the conditions under which the involuntary examination and/or treatment is realized in our country. The purpose of this short article is to present a case where the prosecutor and the psychiatrist disagreed on the interpretation of a paragraph of law nr. 2071/92 so the first to prosecute the second. Fortunately, the psychiatrist, who defended the view that only the judiciary has the power and authority to order involuntary hospitalization of a mentally ill patient, of course after the evidences based medical positive opinion of the psychiatrists, was acquitted by the court. In conclusion, we suggest that for the obscure points of interpretation of the law, professionals involved in its implementation (that is psychiatrists, prosecutors, police personnel etc.) must (a) adopt a spirit of conciliation and (b) establish measures and procedures that will allow continuous monitoring of the implementation of each case of involuntary examination and/or hospitalization.

Key words: Compulsory hospitalization, involuntary treatment, human rights.

Ν. Bilanakis (page 255) - Full article (Greek)