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In Re Gregorovich





APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. CORNELIUS J. COLLINS, Judge, presiding.


This is an appeal by respondent from an order entered in the circuit court of Cook County, finding her to be a person subject to involuntary admission under the provisions of the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Code. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 91 1/2, pars. 1-100, 1-119.) On appeal, respondent contends (1) the State did not prove by clear and convincing evidence that she was a person subject to involuntary admission, and (2) the court should not have considered the testimony of one of the psychiatrists who testified at the hearing because he failed to inform respondent that she had a right to refuse to speak to him as required by Section 208 of the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Code. Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 91 1/2, par. 3-208.

On May 9, 1979, respondent's mother, Celia Gregorovich filed a petition for involuntary judicial admission, alleging that respondent was reasonably expected to inflict serious physical harm upon herself or another in the near future and was unable to provide for her basic physical needs so as to guard herself from serious harm and that she was in need of immediate admission for the prevention of such harm. The petition alleged that respondent had threatened to harm herself and her mother after she had cut all the cords to the electrical lamps and television.

The following pertinent evidence was adduced at the hearing on May 9, 1979.

Celia Gregorovich

Her husband, respondent's father, had been sick for 7 years with Parkinson's Disease and had been hospitalized since January 1979. Respondent, who was 21 years of age, blamed her mother for her father's illness, started talking to herself and would not eat. About a month earlier, when respondent cursed her, she struck respondent with a broom, and respondent then scratched her hand with her nails. The scratch marks took 3 weeks to heal. When she asked respondent to lower the television volume, respondent cut the television wires with scissors. Respondent then held the scissors in her fist, with the point sticking out, and pointed them at her mother, who was about 2 or 3 feet away. When respondent put down the scissors, Mrs. Gregorovich called the police. On cross-examination, she testified she did not have to seek medical attention when respondent scratched her hands, and respondent had never physically harmed her before this or tried to hurt herself. She further indicated respondent took care of herself at home and was very clean and neat about herself.

Gregory Nooney, mental health worker at Northwestern Hospital

Respondent, who was hospitalized at Northwestern, said she would not change her clothes until she went to court because that would prove she was not crazy; she slept in her clothes and had not bathed although she was eating. Respondent told him she knew that mental patients often had symptoms similar to ESP and she wanted to prove that she had ESP and that she was not crazy. On cross-examination, he testified respondent had never attacked any other patient on the hospital unit or caused any physical harm to anyone.

Dr. David Altman, a board certified psychiatrist

He examined respondent on May 4, 1979. Respondent was sitting on the couch, moving her mouth and gesturing toward the television set which was turned on. When he was introduced to her, respondent yelled at him, then turned back toward the television set and continued to gesture toward it. When he attempted to engage her in a conversation, she moved to another part of the room and continued to face the television and gesture toward it. When he saw that respondent was becoming more upset, he told her he would stop, and respondent became calm and laughed in the direction of the television set. This process was repeated during the day on May 4. He also observed respondent in front of the television on other occasions when she would at times be watching the television with other patients, moving her mouth and occasionally making gestures. He spoke to her again the morning of the hearing, May 9, when respondent was again in front of the television set. She told him she did not want to talk to him, and the only information he was able to obtain from the interview was that respondent believed that it was dangerous for her to be in the hospital and that she would gain more ESP power from other patients and this would be dangerous. When he asked her to elaborate, respondent said that she would explain it to the judge.

In his opinion, based on information he received from other members of the staff and based on his contact with respondent, she was suffering from an acute schizophrenic episode, a mental illness involving auditory and visual hallucinations. He believed she was under a delusion, a fixed false belief, since she thought she had the power to control people's minds and read other person's minds. He concluded that respondent would be unable to take care of her basic physical needs and protect herself against physical injury based on the fact that she cut the electrical wires prior to admission, that she was quite hostile, that she refused a physical examination and routine laboratory work upon admission because it would somehow prejudice her case, that she thinks she has extra sensory powers rather than having a mental illness, and that she had not bathed and was "essentially not caring for herself in a manner which she would need to do in order to be released." He recommended that she continue to be hospitalized although she had not inflicted injury on herself or anyone else in the hospital.

On cross-examination Dr. Altman testified that he advised respondent of her statutory rights that she did not have to talk to him. Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 91 1/2, par. 3-208.

Dr. Sydney Wright, licensed physician and ...

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