Two women; Patsy Hensley (49) and another unidentified social worker, in Northern Kentucky filed lawsuits against St. Elizabeth Health Care facilities in Boone County Circuit Court, accusing the latter of falsely imprisoning them under the claim that they are suicidal.
While St. Elizabeth Health Care declines to comment under the reasons that it is against their privacy laws; both the women certainly do claim that such an incident did take place.
Both the women filed lawsuits claiming “false imprisonment” under the common law that describes such an action to have violated mental health commitments of the state regulations. One even went on to say that St. Elizabeth’s actions, “demonstrate a gross disregard for the Plaintiff’s civil rights.”
The women claim to have lost their jobs due to St. Elizabeth’s actions, for which; they will also be suing them for punitive damages and possible lost earnings plus interest. Lawyers claim that this was a planned expansion to admit a person against will in the market of mental health, especially on the part of St. Elizabeth. According to Shane Sidebottom, one of the women’s lawyers, not only were the women hospitalized against their will, but they were not provided with any kind of medical assessment or any manner of validation for the same, either.
“It was only after a very long time that an actual doctor met with her to determine whether or not she really needed to be there in the first place. Given, that this haphazard admission practice is not isolated to my client, there is a concern that St. Elizabeth is pushing a very liberal involuntary admission policy to coincide with the new mental health facility that St. Elizabeth is opening. Mental health facilities are regulated by the Commonwealth, and a treatment center has to certify a need for beds with the state,” added Shane Sidebottom.
According to the state law, an individual can be hospitalized against his/her will for mental illness provided the mental institute or the hospital proves that the subject poses danger or grave threat to either himself/herself or others and if so, it should be ensured that hospitalizing is the least restrictive method available. However, the law is unclear on who exactly gets to judge the determination.
The second lawsuit even claims that the hospital officials seemed to have added records later with the purpose of falsifying reports that might not even be existing for the subject. Whitehead’s lawyer, Sidebottom was even heard saying that the subject had to quit her job out of embarrassment, for which; neither did St. Elizabeth offer any health insurance claim nor refrain from leaving her expensive medical bills that she was charged for.
“After she was released from the hospital, her employee insurance (St. Elizabeth) denied coverage of her involuntary commitment for not being a necessary treatment within her plan,” Sidebottom said. “She was hit with substantial hospital bills for medical services that she did not consent to and was told upon her release from the hospital, were unwarranted.”