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05/22/97 BARBARA H. v. BARBARA H.

May 22, 1997

IN RE BARBARA H., ALLEGED TO BE A PERSON IN NEED OF INVOLUNTARY ADMISSION AND INVOLUNTARY PSYCHOTROPIC MEDICATION; (THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PETITIONER-APPELLEE,
v.
BARBARA H., RESPONDENT-APPELLANT).



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Kane County. Nos. 96--MH--285, 96--MH--287. Honorable James C. Hallock, Judge, Presiding.

Released for Publication June 24, 1997.

The Honorable Justice Colwell delivered the opinion of the court. McLAREN and Bowman, JJ., concur.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Colwell

JUSTICE COLWELL delivered the opinion of the court:

This case is a consolidated appeal. The State filed two petitions concerning Barbara H. First, the State sought to admit Barbara H. to a mental health facility involuntarily pursuant to the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Code (Code) (405 ILCS 5/3--100 et seq. (West 1994)). Second, the State sought to administer psychotropic medication to Barbara H. See 405 ILCS 5/2--107.1 (West 1994).

At a hearing at which the respondent was not present, the trial court granted the State's petition to involuntarily admit her to Elgin Mental Health Center (Center) for a period not to exceed 90 days. Further, the court found that the benefits of psychotropic medication outweighed any harm and allowed the Center to administer psychotropic medication to Barbara H. for a period not to exceed 90 days.

On appeal, the respondent argues that the trial court's orders granting her involuntary admission and authorizing the use of psychotropic medication must be reversed because she was not advised of the consequences of her failure to attend the hearing. Additionally, Barbara H. contends that the order authorizing psychotropic medication should be reversed because (1) the Code requires separate hearings for petitions for admission and petitions for medication; and (2) the State did not present sufficient evidence that she lacked the capacity to reasonably refuse the medication. We reverse and remand.

The record shows that on August 2, 1996, the trial court held a joint hearing on the State's petition to involuntarily admit Barbara H. and the State's petition to involuntarily administer psychotropic medication to the respondent. At the beginning of the hearing, the trial court noted that the respondent was absent and asked the respondent's attorney, an assigned public defender, if he was waiving his client's presence. The public defender stated that an investigator and a student law clerk attempted to speak with Barbara H., but that Barbara H. refused to talk to them. The public defender added that Barbara H. stated that she was represented through the "Catholic Charities Association" and told the investigator and the student that she refused to come to court. The public defender then stated that if he was "in fact going to represent her today [he] would then waive her presence based upon that."

At that point, the trial court interrupted the public defender to ask again whether he was waiving his client's presence. The public defender added that he believed that having Barbara H. in court "would be detrimental to her physical and emotional well-being." The trial court again requested the public defender to answer "yes or no" to whether he was waiving his client's presence. The public defender then stated that he waived Barbara H.'s presence.

Only one witness testified at the hearing. Dr. Farsana Husain testified that she is a staff psychiatrist at the Center. Dr. Husain stated that she was unable to perform a psychiatric examination of Barbara H. because on three occasions Barbara H. refused to talk to her. Accordingly, her diagnosis of the respondent was based on her review of the medical records, conversations with the staff, personal observations, and her past experience with the respondent when Barbara H. was her patient for a six-month period ending in May 1996.

Dr. Husain diagnosed Barbara H. with schizoaffective disorder, bipolar type. Dr. Husain explained that the respondent's disorder had two components to it: psychotic disturbance and mood disturbance. Overall, Dr. Husain said that Barbara H. "is not in touch with reality. She is delusional." Dr. Husain added that the respondent's mood ranged between being depressed, getting angry, and becoming agitated.

Dr. Husain testified that Barbara H. had been living "at placement" in association with Northwest Community Mental Health Center. Dr. Husain explained that Barbara H. was returned to the Center because she refused to take her medication, she believed people were poisoning her, and she falsely thought she was pregnant. Dr. Husain stated that upon returning to the Center Barbara H. was "very filthy and poorly dressed and groomed." Dr. Husain added that in a structured environment Barbara H. takes care of herself with some prompting, but independently she has not been able to care for herself.

Dr. Husain testified that Barbara H. has diabetes. Dr. Husain stated that the respondent voluntarily takes medication for her diabetes, but refuses to take medication for her mental illness.

Dr. Husain said that she did not believe that Barbara H. could manage her financial affairs if she were discharged because "historically" Barbara H. had been unable to manage her financial affairs on her own. Dr. Husain stated that she "had no knowledge" of whether Barbara H. would be able to find food for herself on her own if she were discharged. Overall, however, Dr. Husain acknowledged that she believed the respondent to be mentally ill and because of her illness she was unable to provide for her basic physical needs so as to guard herself from serious harm. Specifically, Dr. Husain noted that Barbara H. still refused to take her medication and therefore in her opinion the respondent would not be able to function on "the outside."

Finally, Dr. Husain testified that Barbara H.'s ability to function had deteriorated. Dr. Husain stated that the respondent did not understand her illness and had "very poor insight" into her illness. Dr. Husain said that Barbara H. had been admitted 11 times since 1980 and that within the last four to five years her condition had been deteriorating.

Dr. Husain next testified to Barbara H.'s history with psychotropic medication. Dr. Husain stated that when taking psychotropic medication in the past the respondent had never experienced side effects. Dr. Husain added that when taking the medication Barbara H. became more sociable and her mood became stable. Further, while on the psychotropic medication, Barbara H. was able to care for herself and did not need prompting. ...


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