October 24, 2019

Violation of Rights: Failure to Provide Hearing Following Involuntary Detainment

A woman has joined a lawsuit brought by the ACLU, against the state of New Hampshire for violating her rights when she was involuntarily detained in an emergency department for a mental health break without being afforded a hearing within the required time limit. According to NPR, the woman was suffering from severe anxiety and stress and following an interaction with the police, was told that she had to go to the hospital. She was held down and taken to the hospital’s emergency room against her will.

The plaintiff’s daughter and a hospital physician completed a form indicating that she was “a danger to herself or others because of a mental illness.” Under state law, such a patient is required to be transferred from the ER to a psychiatric care facility and given a hearing within 3 days. She was never transferred due to the lack of available beds at a psychiatric institution, and because hearings are only held at these institutions, she was not given a hearing until she arrived, twenty days later.