In this case, our client, a twelve year old girl, presented to a hospital Emergency Room on a Sunday afternoon exhibiting bizarre and highly unusual behavior. According to the girl’s parents, she had been home with her family all weekend, and began acting bizarrely after church on Sunday. Although the girl had absolutely no history of drug use and was an above-average student, the Emergency Room physician assumed she had taken illicit drugs and suspected a drug-induced psychosis, so he ordered a comprehensive drug screen to determine what drugs she had taken. The drug test came back negative.
Despite the negative drug test and history inconsistent with drug use, our client was Baker Acted and involuntarily detained at the hospital. The following day, the involuntary institutionalization continued, and our client was transported to a behavioral center in Kissimmee, Florida. After two days, our client was found unresponsive and transported to the local Emergency Department where she was diagnosed with viral encephalitis, which was the cause of the bizarre and unusual behavior. Sadly, none of the medical professionals involved in her care at either the hospital or psychiatric facility recognized the clear signs and symptoms of the encephalopathy and continued to hold our client captive and treat her as a drug abuser. Additionally, the careless treatment by the various healthcare providers and facilities completely denied our client’s mother access to her young daughter for several days.