Appeal from the Circuit Court of Kane County. No. 94-MH-0079. Honorable Thomas E. Hogan, Judge, Presiding.
Presiding Justice Inglis delivered the opinion of the court: Doyle and Colwell, JJ., concur.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Inglis
PRESIDING JUSTICE INGLIS delivered the opinion of the court:
Respondent, Barbara Tuman, appeals the order of the circuit court of Kane County finding her to be a person subject to involuntary commitment and which committed her to the department of mental health (Health Center) for eight weeks. On appeal, respondent challenges the order on the basis that the State did not prove by clear and convincing evidence that respondent is mentally ill and unable to care for her basic needs. We reverse.
On March 19, 1994, the State filed a petition for involuntary admission with the clerk of the circuit court of Kane County. The petition alleged that respondent was mentally ill and could reasonably be expected to inflict harm upon herself or another. The petition was subsequently amended to allege additionally that respondent was unable to care for herself so as to guard herself from serious harm.
The petition specifically alleged that respondent had been brought from the parking lot of Woodland Hospital to the Sherman Hospital emergency room and then to the Health Center. The petition further alleged that respondent was verbally and physically abusive, needed to be restrained, exhibited nonsensical speech, and had previously been admitted to various psychiatric hospitals for manic psychotic episodes.
A hearing was held on March 25, 1994, for the purpose of determining whether respondent should be involuntarily committed to the Health Center. The only witness for the State was Dr. Sied Anwar, a psychiatrist at the Health Center. Dr. Anwar testified that respondent suffered from schizo-affective disorder, which he described as mood swings coupled with speaking difficulties.
Dr. Anwar's diagnosis was based on a review of her records and an examination of the patient, with much reliance being placed on emergency room records from Sherman Hospital and Chicago Reed Hospital. However, none of these records were offered into evidence by the State. Furthermore, Dr. Anwar did not directly observe respondent's behavior while she was at Sherman Hospital. Dr. Anwar was not able to examine respondent's behavior until her arrival at the Health Center. He further testified that respondent was noncooperative during the examination.
Dr. Anwar testified that, in his opinion, respondent could reasonably be expected to inflict serious harm on herself or another. This conclusion was based on the incident which resulted in respondent being taken to the Sherman Hospital emergency room. Respondent allegedly threw valuable objects around her grandmother's house. Respondent was taken to Woodland Hospital by a family friend where she was evaluated and sent on to Sherman Hospital. She was then allegedly placed in restraints at Sherman hospital for threatening the hospital staff. However, none of the records from Sherman Hospital were provided by the State, and we are therefore unable to determine the nature or extent of these alleged threats.
Dr. Anwar also testified that respondent had made fists at various staff members. However, Dr. Anwar was not present on these occasions, and these staff members did not testify. Dr. Anwar testified that respondent had never actually struck any staff members. Dr. Anwar also testified that respondent had been admitted to the Department of Mental Health on 76 other occasions.
Dr. Anwar testified that, in his opinion, respondent was unable to provide for her basic needs so as to protect herself from serious harm. This conclusion was based on respondent's uncooperativeness and nonresponsiveness when he attempted to examine her.
He further opined that respondent's judgment was impaired because she refused to take medication when it was offered. Dr. Anwar testified that respondent was eating and sleeping without any problem but that she needed some assistance in grooming and dressing. The latter conclusion he drew from her wearing warm clothes and sunglasses indoors.
Dr. Anwar testified that commitment to the Health Center was the least restrictive alternative treatment due to the chronicity of the illness coupled with respondent's poor judgment and noncompliance with treatment. A treatment plan was developed which was to last eight weeks.
The State called respondent to testify but she refused to do so. The judge did not order respondent to testify. The circuit court ordered that respondent be committed to the Health Center for eight weeks because her lack of communication, coupled with her past history of admissions to mental health facilities, led the court to conclude that respondent probably ...