TAKAMATSU, Kagawa Pref. – A psychiatric hospital was ordered here Wednesday to pay a former patient 1.2 million yen for keeping him hospitalized without reason and forcing him to do unpaid chores in the name of treatment.
The former patient, 55, had demanded about 94 million yen in compensation from the private mental health institute that operated the Ohnishi Mental Hospital. The case was heard by the Takamatsu District Court.
The man was forcibly hospitalized at the institution between 1985 and 1996. Hospital officials ordered him to change patients’ diapers and paint the walls of the hospital’s villa as part of his “treatment.”
He was again forced into the hospital on two occasions in 1997, and was only released after the governor of Kagawa Prefecture issued an order to do so. The man’s lawyers pointed out that painting walls cannot be considered as treatment for a psychiatric disorder.
They added that his protracted hospitalization made it difficult for him to return to society.
The hospital said that painting walls was appropriate treatment for a psychiatric disorder and, anyway, participation in such activities was left up to individual patients.
Presiding Judge Tamon Toyonaga said that some of the duties the man carried out, including assisting in nursing care duties, should not be done by hospital patients.
But he added that it could not be ruled out that the man had to some degree participated willingly.
According to a report released by the Japanese Society of Psychiatry and Neurology, the chores that Ohnishi Mental Hospital forced the man to do were clearly hospital work, not medical treatment.
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