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In re Katarzyna G.

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Second District

August 30, 2013

In re KATARZYNA G., Alleged to be a Person Subject to Involuntary Treatment
v.
Katarzyna G., Respondent-Appellant) (The People of the State of Illinois, Petitioner-Appellee,

Held [*]

The order authorizing the involuntary administration of psychotropic medication to respondent was reversed where the State failed to establish that she lacked the capacity to make a reasoned decision as to whether she would take the medications, because she was not given written notice of the medications in Polish, the only language she understood.

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Kane County, No. 12-MH-74; the Hon. Susan Clancy Boles, Judge, presiding.

Veronique Baker, of Guardianship and Advocacy Commission, of Chicago, and Ann Krasuski, of Guardianship and Advocacy Commission, of Hines, for appellant.

Joseph H. McMahon, State’s Attorney, of St. Charles (Lawrence M. Bauer and Diane L. Campbell, both of State’s Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor’s Office, of counsel), for the People.

JUSTICE McLAREN delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Zenoff and Birkett concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

McLAREN JUSTICE

¶ 1 Respondent, Katarzyna G., appeals from an order of the circuit court of Kane County authorizing the involuntary administration of psychotropic medication. At issue is whether, because respondent was not given written notice about the psychotropic medications in Polish, which is the language she understands, the State failed to establish that respondent lacked the capacity to make a reasoned decision about whether to take medication. We answer this question in the affirmative and reverse the order granting the State's petition.

¶ 2 The facts relevant to resolving the issue raised are as follows. Respondent moved to the United States from Poland in 1977, when she was around 25 years old. She worked cleaning houses for many years, owned her own home, and raised a family.

¶ 3 In May 2008, respondent was arrested for aggravated battery to a police officer. She was found not guilty by reason of insanity, was court-ordered to attend outpatient treatment at the John H. Stroger, Jr., Hospital of Cook County, and eventually was involuntarily admitted to the Elgin Mental Health Center (EMHC) in August 2011. The EMHC doctor who treated respondent indicated that respondent suffers from a "delusional disorder persecutory type, " which is a psychotic disorder, and that she has so suffered since her arrest. Since respondent was admitted to the EMHC, she has refused to take any kind of medication that could treat her illness.

¶ 4 As a result, respondent's treating doctor petitioned the court for permission to involuntarily administer to respondent various medications that the doctor believed could help treat respondent's mental illness. At the hearing, a Polish-speaking interpreter was present for respondent.[1] When the State asked the doctor whether respondent was given notice about the medications' benefits and side effects, the following exchange was had:

"Q. Doctor, has [respondent] been provided with written materials on the risks and benefits of the medications you wish to prescribe? A. Yes.
Q. And in your opinion does [respondent] have the capacity to make a reasoned decision about the medications?
A. No, she doesn't because of her mental illness which interferes with her making a reasoned decision.
Q. Is [respondent] able to make a reasoned decision about potential benefits and side effects of medication?
A. She–her perceptions interfere with her realizing that she has a mental illness, that there is a mental illness to treat, that there is medication to treat it, and she has difficulty facing the reality of that information. So ...

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