CA Welf & Inst Code Section 5326.7

Mentioned in

The Use of Electroconvulsive Therapy on Death Row

Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the law, August 17, 2023

“The following article explores the role that ECT plays in capital cases, in relation to both legal outcomes and postconviction treatment.”
Bibliographic info

Subject to the provisions of subdivision (f) of Section 5325, convulsive treatment may be administered to an involuntary patient, including anyone under guardianship or conservatorship, only if:


The attending or treatment physician enters adequate documentation in the patient’s treatment record of the reasons for the procedure, that all reasonable treatment modalities have been carefully considered, and that the treatment is definitely indicated and is the least drastic alternative available for this patient at this time. Such statement in the treatment record shall be signed by the attending and treatment physician or physicians.


A review of the patient’s treatment record is conducted by a committee of two physicians, at least one of whom shall have personally examined the patient. One physician shall be appointed by the facility and one shall be appointed by the local mental health director. Both shall be either board-certified or board-eligible psychiatrists or board-certified or board-eligible neurologists. This review committee must unanimously agree with the treatment physician’s determinations pursuant to subdivision (a). Such agreement shall be documented in the patient’s treatment record and signed by both physicians.


A responsible relative of the person’s choosing and the person’s guardian or conservator, if there is one, have been given the oral explanation by the attending physician as required by Section 5326. 2. Should the person desire not to inform a relative or should such chosen relative be unavailable, this requirement is dispensed with.


The patient gives written informed consent as defined in Section 5326.5 to the convulsive treatment. Such consent shall be for a specified maximum number of treatments over a specified maximum period of time not to exceed 30 days, and shall be revocable at any time before or between treatments. Such withdrawal of consent may be either oral or written and shall be given effect immediately. Additional treatments in number or time, not to exceed 30 days, shall require a renewed written informed consent.


The patient’s attorney, or if none, a public defender appointed by the court, agrees as to the patient’s capacity or incapacity to give written informed consent and that the patient who has capacity has given written informed consent.


If either the attending physician or the attorney believes that the patient does not have the capacity to give a written informed consent, then a petition shall be filed in superior court to determine the patient’s capacity to give written informed consent. The court shall hold an evidentiary hearing after giving appropriate notice to the patient, and within three judicial days after the petition is filed. At such hearing the patient shall be present and represented by legal counsel. If the court deems the above-mentioned attorney to have a conflict of interest, such attorney shall not represent the patient in this proceeding.


If the court determines that the patient does not have the capacity to give written informed consent, then treatment may be performed upon gaining the written informed consent as defined in Sections 5326.2 and 5326.5 from the responsible relative or the guardian or the conservator of the patient.


At any time during the course of treatment of a person who has been deemed incompetent, that person shall have the right to claim regained competency. Should he do so, the person’s competency must be reevaluated according to subdivisions (e), (f), and (g).
Last Updated

Sep. 11, 2023

§ 5326.7’s source at ca​.gov