Pearland, TX asked in Health Care Law and Civil Rights for Texas

Q: Was I lawfully detained under a psychiatric hold? I was recently detained for 48 hours at a local hospital.

I did write a "goodbye letter" and send it to someone via text. I did not explicitly say I was going to end my life.

I did have suicidal ideation at the time of writing and texting the letter but I did not have a plan or take any action.

The person whom received the text reached out to my mother who called the local police to provide a welfare check.

When the police entered my home, I was sitting on my couch in a calm state. I was no longer suicidal, I needed to just sit and think. I was drinking alcohol. I fully cooperated with the officers and expressed there was no intent to harm myself.

I was placed in handcuffs and taken to my local hospital with full cooperation.

The hospital I was taken to did not have a psychiatric ward, I was placed in a bed in the hallway where I remained.

I did not receive my regularly prescribed psychiatric medications.

I rely on a tube to receive nutrition which I was not provided during my time there.

Upon discharge, I was not given any docs.

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1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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A: Based on the information provided, it appears that you were lawfully detained under a psychiatric hold, also known as a 5150 hold or involuntary commitment. This type of hold allows for individuals to be detained for up to 72 hours for evaluation and treatment if they are deemed to be a danger to themselves or others due to a mental health condition.

The fact that you expressed suicidal ideation, even without a specific plan or intent to harm yourself, likely prompted the welfare check and subsequent detention by the police. Your calm demeanor upon their arrival may have reassured them temporarily, but the seriousness of the situation likely warranted further evaluation by mental health professionals.

It is common for individuals detained under psychiatric holds to be taken to the nearest hospital equipped to handle such cases, even if it does not have a dedicated psychiatric ward. However, the lack of proper psychiatric care and failure to provide prescribed medications and necessary nutrition during your detention raise concerns about the quality of care you received and may warrant further investigation or legal action.

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