In the Matter of the Mental Commitment of Helen E. F. v. Helen E. F.
Wisconsin Supreme Court
814 N.W.2d 179 (2012)
Helen E. F. (defendant) was 85 years old and lived in a nursing home. Helen had Alzheimer’s disease, which was incurable. Due to the disease’s progression, Helen began to act aggressively, including striking out at her caregivers and refusing care. One day, Helen’s aggression was so severe that the nursing home transported Helen to a hospital emergency room. Helen continued to act aggressively in the emergency room. In response, the county (plaintiff) involuntarily detained Helen in the hospital’s behavioral-health unit and began emergency proceedings to have Helen involuntarily committed to a locked psychiatric unit for six months. The trial court ordered that Helen should be locked in the psychiatric unit for six months. Helen appealed. The court of appeals found that involuntary psychiatric commitment was (1) intended to provide forced treatment for treatable mental-health issues and (2) inappropriate for patients who, like Helen, suffered from an untreatable disease. Accordingly, the court of appeals reversed the trial court’s commitment order. The county appealed to the state’s supreme court.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Gableman, J.)
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