Again on responsibility in psychiatry - After the sentence of Nov. 14, 2007 (no. 10795/2008) of the Italian Court, in which a psychiatrist was judged guilty of manslaughter because a patient committed homicide (see E. Pozzi, "A note on responsibility in psychiatric practice". Psicoterapia e Scienze Umane, 2008, XLII, 2: 219-223), several Italian psychiatrists reacted to defend their professional role. However, further psychiatrists, nurses, and even a general practitioner were sentenced guilty for homicides or suicides committed by patients; a psychiatrist was judged guilty because a patient, who was not coming to the clinic since several months, severely injured a young girl. Various legal suits are reviewed, the concept of "patient’s custody" and the role of guidelines and governmental recommendations are discussed. Psychiatry should inform and document, within a co-constructed therapeutic relationship, what is deemed appropriate, sharing risks and benefits, and implementing good practices within environmental safeguards.
Keywords: Forensic psychiatry, professional responsibility, custody of the patient, guidelines, clinical practice