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Dimitry K., Esq.
Dimitry K., Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 41221
Experience:  Multiple jurisdictions, specialize in business/contract disputes, estate creation and administration.
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My friends Aunt called the paramedics...she was worried my

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My friends Aunt called the paramedics...she was worried my friend (Tiffany) was trying to kill herself. Tiffany had spoke with her Aunt on the phone and had said she took 2 Ambien..her aunt thought she said 10 called the paramedics. The paramedics went to Tiffany's house...she was awake. She told them it was a misunderstanding and had not taken 10 ambien but 2 extra ambien and was not trying to kill herself. She was the only one at home. The paramedics would not listen to her and took her to a nearby hospital. She said she spend most of the afternoon there and then was told she had to go to a mental hopital or would be taken to jail. She ended up being locked up in a mental hospital for 5 days. During this time she missed work and now is faced with huge medical expenses from this mental hospital she could not leave. Was this legal? Does she have a case?

Thank you for your question. Please permit me to assist you with your concerns.

Oh, good grief. I am so very sorry to hear that your friend is in this situation. The answer I am about to tell you is likely not going to be favorable, so I ask you to not blame the proverbial messenger.

What this is called is 'involuntary commitment'. Arizona has a law that permits individuals to be involuntarily committed based on doctor diagnosis for up to 72 hours. After 72 hours (or rather within that period), a hearing has to be held that would evaluate the mental health of the person and see if the commitment has to be extended, or the person can be released. All expenses during that time are still charged to the individual.

In this situation if she was held for 5 days, she MUST obtain her medical records and see if a hearing was held. If not, she can claim that she was held without cause, making it a case for medical battery and for false imprisonment. Then she could potentially have a cause of action for damages against the facility. But if there is a hearing, then she would be liable for the costs.

Good luck.

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