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family member arrested for psych issues, HELP!

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  • family member arrested for psych issues, HELP!

    Greetings,

    I'm not from WA so I don't know the law or process regarding this so I need some help. Here is the situation. My wife's sister was diagnosed with bipolar a a while ago and appears to have been steadily getting worse. This past week she traveled to WA to see a friend. She flew, which from what we hear almost got her in trouble before even landing. The story goes as we were told she went into a bank and DEMANDED money. She wasn't attempted to rob it and didn't have a weapon, but from what we were told by family she became extremely loud and aggressive so they called the police resulting in her arrest. Luckily her husband talked to them and rather being put in jail she was admitted into a Psych hospital. This morning at 4 AM though we received a text from her and apparently she had just been discharged.
    My question is what is the process in this case after an arrest and admittance. Can she check herself out AMA (against medical leave) or is this an involuntary admittance and she must be cleared by a doc. Further, afterwards there was another incident that probably will end her back in the hospital, but is there a way for a family member to have her involuntary committed so she can't discharge herself? Its even a greater mess because she lives in one state and was arrested and committed in a state 1000 miles from home. the concern is that she is not taking her meds. Pardon my ignorance on the subject this is a new one for me.
    And as your scratching your head thinking why she was permitted to go in the first place we thought the same thing and what it comes down to is VERY bad discretion on her and her husbands part. We are clueless to why her husband would have thought this would have been a good (or safe) idea. Thanks ahead of time. Due to the behavior that we were told about I knew an arrest was inevitable, I just thank god she didn't have a weapon because this would be a discussion of a completely different topic.

  • #2
    There is no arrest for a psych hold. Let her deal with it.
    Now go home and get your shine box!

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    • #3
      Go here http://app.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=71.05.153 and read Section 71.05.153

      Unless the facility she was taken to determined she met the criteria for involuntary commitment, they had no choice but to kick her loose. Any decision to stay was then at her discretion.
      Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

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      • #4
        Perfect, thanks. so basically what most likely happened is she was arrested for her behavior, but with the information provided by her husband regarding bipolar, rather than jail she was taken to psych. She was not kept involuntary because the doc didn't feel she had suicidal ideations. Until she actually reaches the point of either an actual attempt or imminent threat she can't be involuntary admitted. Basically the doc discharged her for their reasoning and because she didn't ask to stay she was discharged, the cycle repeats and here we are.

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        • #5
          Something like that. Generally speaking you need to be unable to care for your own safety, the safety of others, or gravely disabled for them to keep you. However, the law is interpreted very favorably in favor of the patient's freedom, lest it be used as an excuse to lock people up who do not conform to society's conventional standards and so we don't imprison people simply because they are ill.

          For example, here in California, gravely disabled is interpreted a meaning you are incapable of finding nourishment for yourself. If your mental faculties are such that you know you can find nourishment in garbage cans, you are not gravely disabled.

          As far as being unable to care for your own safety, I had a close friend who was involuntarily committed when she attempted suicide. Once inside the other patients tipped her off that if she wanted to get out, all she had to do was say she didn't want to kill herself any more. She changed her story to the staff and got put her back on the street immediately.
          Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

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          • #6
            thanks, WA law seems to mirror in my state. During the winter we see a lot of homeless people come into an ER or the PD and say "i want to kill myself" they get a free medical exam, 72 hours of free meals, warm bed and a shower (which many could be considers to smell the same as what my dog does after a day in the swamp) after the 72 hours the cycle repeats. Our last update she is going to be met at the airport or when she gets home by the police and be admitted. I guess we will find out later this afternoon how that will work. What a nightmare

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