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Thread: Illegal 5150-Can I sue?

  1. #1
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    Default Illegal 5150-Can I sue?

    I was placed under a 5150 (California involuntary psychiatric hold) and I believe it was illegal. I want to sue if the statute of limitations is not up (it was just over 12 months ago) and if it is indeed illegal what happened.

    So the facts: I self harmed and took myself to the ER to get some sort of medication to treat the burns. They brought over someone to evaluate my mental health and I basically told them I was very depressed but explicity said I was not suicidal, which was the truth. I was 17 at the time, a few months from being 18. They placed me under a 5150, strapped me to a gurney against my will (although I was cooperative throughout the entire process), and transported me to a psych ward (sorry if that's not the proper term) outside of county lines (my father ok'ed the outside of county lines part, as they insisted I needed to be taken to a psych ward...what would any loving father do? Do what the professionals tell him needs to be done.). It was night-time when I arrived and then they wanted me to sleep in the same room with someone I had never met before, who for all I knew was in there because they needed to be. At that point I was not going to be cooperative anymore as I felt my safety was at risk. I overheard some things being said by one of the other girls when I was escorted into the unit, and I was not about to sleep in the same room with any of them, sorry. But that is besides the point. As far as I understand it, one of the criteria for a 5150 is the desire to die, and usually beyond that, an explicit expression of the wish to kill one's self. I never expressed this desire, and explicitly expressed the opposite. That I was just depressed but not at all suicidal. I also wonder if the strapping me down to a gurney was necessary as I had been 100% cooperative and non-violent.

    Any light someone could shed on this situation would be greatly appreciated. I want to sue for the medical bills at the psych ward, the cost of the ambulance ride, any other costs related to the 5150, my dad's plane ticket from Florida to California to sign my release from the psych ward, and if possible for pain and suffering. Let me tell you that that experience of being strapped down to a gurney like a crazy person and then spending around 24 hours in a psych ward has given me nightmares and occupied my mind for a while.

  2. #2
    Administrator CatInASuit's avatar
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    FYI. Asking for assistance from a messageboard is not the best way to find out what your particular situation is.

    I suggest contacting your local lawyer and asking about it. They will be best placed to advise you
    In the land of the blind, the one-arm man is king.

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    Elen síla lumenn' omentielvo What Exit?'s avatar
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    All I can say is good luck. I don't believe there is anyone here that can help you with this specific problem.

    Anecdote: I had a friend that was put into an involuntary hold. He was unhappy and angry about it. The system here in Jersey basically let them keep him locked up until he finally played the game and pretended not to be angry. I visited him almost every other day and just kept telling him to stay strong and be calm and he would get out quicker. Two other friends did the same.

    I have no clue if this is how it works anywhere else but it did get him back out and he has had no problems since.

  4. #4
    DeWitt Hoser 5er's avatar
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    In my state, you can be held involuntarily if you've threatened to harm yourself or others. "Harm" is not just suicide or murder, and in your case it sounds like you had already harmed yourself with mutilation. It's a fair bet that they didn't feel that you were safe from harming yourself if you were still very depressed. I'm not a lawyer, but I'd be very surprised if you had grounds for a lawsuit.

  5. #5
    A Groupie Marsilia's avatar
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    What 5er said. And, as far as I know, that's the way it works in California. 5150 is someone who is "a danger to himself or others," according to the law enforcement and healthcare professionals I knew while living out there (I worked for the local PD and my ex worked at a local hospital). You injured yourself on purpose. You expressed to the shrink on duty that you were still depressed. From what you say here, they had reason to believe that you were still a danger to yourself.
    So, I'll whisper in the dark, hoping you'll hear me.

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    Yes, I'm a cat. What's it to you? Muffin's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by kat_plays_fh View post
    I self harmed
    And your point is . . . ?

  7. #7
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    The Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) is a nonprofit mental health watchdog, responsible for helping to enact more than 150 laws protecting individuals from abusive or coercive practices. CCHR has long fought to restore basic inalienable human rights to the field of mental health, including, but not limited to, full informed consent regarding the medical legitimacy of psychiatric diagnosis, the risks of psychiatric treatments, the right to all available medical alternatives, and the right to refuse any treatment considered harmful.

    Real Disease vs. Mental “Disorder”

    Psychiatric disorders are not medical diseases. There are no lab tests, brain scans, X-rays or chemical imbalance tests that can verify any mental disorder is a physical condition. This is not to say that people do not get depressed, or that people can’t experience emotional or mental duress, but psychiatry has repackaged these emotions and behaviors as “disease” in order to sell drugs or force treatment. This is a brilliant marketing campaign, but it is not science.

    I know , I was also a victim of psychiatric abuse. Here is the website for more info http://www.cchr.org

    Good luck , I hope you find a psychiatric malpractice lawyer.

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