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It would appear that all common sense has left Montana. The state’s Supreme Court has now actually confirmed that social workers are sufficiently trained and can, through mere observation of a patient, not only accurately diagnose a mental condition, but they have crystal balls by which to accurately foresee the future of patients within a stated time frame!

The record of the appeal, No. DA09-0560, can be found on the website of the state law library. It documents the weight given the testimony of a social worker who stated, “it was foreseeable that within a week or two that her mania would worsen.” The lack of evidence that L.R.’s behavior was caused by a primary mental abnormality, rather than something physical, chemical, or even a voluntary disregard for authority, should have given the court pause.

There are numerous other conditions that can make people appear mentally abnormal yet the record indicates that this patient was denied the appropriate medical care to uncover them. Instead, she was drugged without a shred of measurable biologic evidence of either the need for, or the benefit of, such drugging. Haldol and Ativan were administered, drugs known to cause a synergistic disinhibition resulting in psychosis, aggression, and hostility thus fulfilling the prophecy that this patient would appear worse. The 24-hour period prior to a hearing, during which time patients are supposed to be free from drugging, is pharmacokinetically insufficient to clear the human body of the effects of these mind-altering agents, even assuming that withdrawal is not an issue.

The ignorance of this statutory timeframe just boggles the mind! Wake up, people! The next involuntarily committed victim may be you.

Cheryl Wulf,

Helena

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