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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 115460
Experience:  JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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What are a citizens rights in Maryland regarding involuntary

Customer Question

What are a citizens rights in Maryland regarding involuntary removal of a business woman who was misdiagnosed when a "friend" called 911 thinking that person had taken Ambien, used for sleeping, to commit suicide. The 57 year old Realtor is a 2-time Breast Cancer survivor, business woman who has had 22 major surgeries in 15 years as a result of chemo and joint & bone deterioration. 911 was called by friend. Critical care car and marked police car came to woman's home to "beat down the door if they need to" and save the life of a "drunk" woman who was cleaning her house for Thanksgiving. Without permission, the police and "critical care" went to woman's bedroom (authorized by the "friend") looked at woman's prescription bottles by her bed, read them wrong (they were 2 bottles with the same prescription number for a total prescription of 16 Ambien in 1 of 2 bottles and 14 Ambien in 2 of 2 prescription bottles because the pharmacy explained they ran out of one manufacturer so had to split the prescription. Both bottles were noted as such and initialed by pharmacist and explained to woman when picked up) and police came running downstairs and told everyone in neighborhood who had gathered including the woman's "friend@, real estate broker, daughter, boyfriend, who resides with woman, who were ALL called by friend AFTER police were already called, and PRIOR to anyone seeing the woman's state of mind. Possibly some of woman's neighbor's and real estate clients who live next door and 2 doors down in an upper class neighbor, along with a very public grocery store 300 feet from front door of woman's home, that the woman had taken 40 Ambien in a few days from the TWO bottles of Ambien which they "thought@ contained 30 in each bottle, and they are "taking her in"! They told family and friends to wait outside and "Handcuffed" the 135 lb 57 year old business was woman, with force put her in the back of "critical care" car and took her to a psych ward where they did blood work that showed NO drugs in system, except ibuprofen she takes for the rotator cuff and breast reconstruction surgeries that both took place only 2.5 months prior. The friend forgot to tell police the woman was still in physical therapy to gain reuse of her right arm after major surgery and cannot even out her arm behind her back. The handcuff act immediately sent woman into debilitating pain and left severe bruising all around her wrists for Thanksgiving Day to share with her family and friends after she cooked a meal for 10 2 days after the incident. The woman had to be set back in physical therapy because of this incident. Her counselor and physical therapist were appalled at how she was treated. The shoulder pain is terrible and could be the rest of yet another surgery. The woman could not work for 2 weeks post trauma due to anxiety, feelings of violation and humiliation. She works on commission and has not had a sale since. She gets upset every time she sees a police car on the road, in the parking lot across from her house or on TV in fear that they are going to hurt her. She had never been the law, has been a single Mom of 2 daughters for 22 years. Swell known Realtor for 32 years who's reputation and perception of others greatly affects her income. THAT WOMAN is me! Just call me devastated.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
Unfortunately, the police have a legal duty upon receiving a report of a possible suicide attempt. The police are not going to take liability upon receiving such a report and the person has to go to the hospital for a minimum 72 hour evaluation. If they get to the hospital and they are evaluated sooner than 72 hours they can be released. That is pursuant to the MD involuntary commitment laws.
Now, as far as handcuffing and putting the person in a police car, that is a choice of the officers who could choose to call an ambulance to make the transport, but they have to take her to the hospital per law, because if they do not and something happened to her the police officers would be liable and then could be deemed grossly negligent and sued.
Under the MD law, they are legally protected from being sued for taking her in for the evaluation though.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your reply. I think it is terrible that someone has no rights in their own home who has not broken any law or left their home. So I understand correctly, a person is in extensive physical therapy for a recent surgery, they are handcuffed and removed from their home involuntarily and they or their family have any say in the matter just because a friend who is being treated for anxiety and depression decides they want their friend to join them in treatment? Where are that person's rights. It was escalated to a level of abuse and what I feel a violation of a persons rights. The hospital releases that person after a psychiatric evaluation the next morning because there was no grounds on which to hold them. Thus, a night spent awake all night in a psych ward in a green suit, the physical pain from being handcuffed against their will and that's ok? However, a drug dealer that is picked up on the streets for dealing drugs among other things as weapons, is treated the same way as the person in their own home who is "just having a bad day"? Something is wrong with our Civil Rights then. I don't think a 25 year old "critical care" police officer should have the right to make such decision for any person who has no criminal record. I suppose they are authorized to abuse you just because they have a badge and they say you are not ok after they tell your family you can go in on your own and then go to your bedroom and "misdiagnose" you because they are not trained how to read a prescription bottle. Then the hospital prescribes insect poison to that person because they "might be depressed", and send that person home with "drugs" they know nothing about and tell them to take them and it will make your bad day all better. An average person would not research those drugs and know any better why they should not take them. I suppose it's just anger residue that will not fade quickly. Thank you for your time.
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your reply.
The problem is the person who called in the complaint. If it can be proven that the person filed a false complaint to the police, then the person who called in can be sued for making the false complaint. She can sue the person for making a false complaint, but once the police received the complaint they had to act to get her evaluated if there was a possible threat of suicide. Even having a bad day, if there was a potential that suicide was threatened or hinted at, their duty under the law is to take them for a medical evaluation, since the police would be grossly negligent under the law for not doing so and they are not doctors capable of making such an evaluation.
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
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