William Maruca of Fox Rothschild LLP writes:
In a recent New York Times op-ed piece entitled “How a Bad Law and a Big Mistake Drove My Mentally Ill Son Away,” the father of a young man involuntarily hospitalized under Florida’s Baker Act decries “privacy laws” for limiting his access to information about his son’s whereabouts and care. If this account is accurate, it highlights the widespread confusion that surrounds health care providers’ communication with family members.
The article’s author, Norman Ornstein, describes a disturbing incident in which his son Matthew’s landlord reported that Matthew’s behavior was putting himself in danger. Based on the landlord’s report, which Ornstein later describes as a pretext for removing Matthew from the property, Ornstein and his wife agreed to authorize a 72-hour involuntary commitment under the Florida statute. They later learned that Matthew had been seized by police and taken to the county mental health facility, where he was held for three days and released.
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