Is it illegal/unethical for a social worker/police to question someone under sedation?

Recently I went to the ER due to an anxiety attack. During the course of my

treatment I was sedated with Ativan. While I was sedated I was questioned by

a social worker. I have no recollection of this. Apparently I made some

reference to harming myself although, again, I have no recollection of it. The social worker further asked if I would admit myself to the hospital and I supposedly refused. Again, no recollection. The police were called and I was taken into protective custody and forced against my will to admission to a psychiatric unit and was not permitted to leave until I satisfied the doctors that I had no wish to harm myself and never did. This took 6 days and nearly cost me my job. In order to facilitate discharged I did what was asked of me, including voluntarily admitting myself after the 48 hour expired under threat of court order, such as attending group sessions and taking of a mild antidepressant.

Asked on March 6, 2016 under Malpractice Law, Texas

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

The questioning, by itself, is not illegal.  If they are called because of concerns noted by the medical staff, then they have a duty to ask the questions.  The issue with the sedative, however, will determine the credibility of the statements because of the influence of the substances in your system.  I would recommend that you visit with an attorney that routinely handles mental health commitments to make sure that all of the procedures were followed.  From there, you can make a decision on whether or not you want to proceed with a suit for damages.


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