Doctors holding family member. Best course of action to release?

A family member tried to commit suicide and was admitted into the hospital. They
are happy now and see a future now worth living for. The doctors are claiming that
she is showing no progress because she reads too much, even though we are a
family of readers, and doesn’t want to make ‘friends’ in the hospital. They now
want to keep her indefinitely which is now only making her depressed all over
again and she feels like them holding her longer is just making her worse. Is there
anyway we can get her released?

Asked on April 22, 2016 under Malpractice Law, Maryland


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Bring a lawsuit in chancery court (a division or part of county court) on an "emergent" (think "urgent" or "emergency") basis (which gets a hearing quickly), seeking a court order for the family member's release. There are several wrinkles here: if the family member is mentally competent, she should bring the suit, but may have difficulty doing so if they restrict her communications, making it hard for her to even retain or work with an attorney; or if she is not mentally competent (even if the determination of incompetence is suspect, if that's the current determination, it needs to be dealth with), a legal guardian needs to be appointed for her, which guardian can then bring the suit; and/or if she had a POA giving someone else the authority to sue in her name or for her, that person could institute the legal action.
The best thing to do is to hire an attorney and let the lawyer figure out the best way to do this--but the short answer again is, a legal action can be brought to get her released.

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