If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with a psychiatric illness, this is a particularly difficult time. People are going into crisis more quickly, and now it is more dangerous than usual to go to a hospital for treatment.
If you go to a hospital and agree to voluntary commitment, it is important to understand your rights.
You can take someone with you. Any person with a disability is allowed to bring a medical support person with them to the hospital. This is very important. The person you bring cannot have a fever, and they cannot have been exposed to COVID, but you do not have to go to a hospital alone.
Your support person cannot stay with you in the behavioral health portion of the hospital if you choose to remain in the hospital voluntarily, but you can ask that your support person be present by telephone while you are speaking with your doctors and nurses.
If you decide you do not want to stay there anymore, you can ask the hospital to discharge you. If you are at the hospital voluntarily, you have the right to be discharged after you ask to be. The hospital is required by law to discharge you within 48 hours, or on the next business day, whichever is first, unless they believe you are a threat to yourself, to others, or to property. If they want to keep you in a hospital setting, they have to convert your voluntary status to involuntary, which requires them to get a Court Order from a Judge. If your loved one went to a hospital voluntarily, and wants to be discharged, or does not wish to be treated with specific medications or therapies, contact Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. toll-free at (855) 376-5291 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please ask us about our video conferencing or telephone consultations if you are unable to come to our office.
Written by Nicole C. Tomlin, Esq. of Hanlon Niemann & Wright