Commitment and Imprisonment...Sniff....Please read/help

  1. four months ago, i made the decision to have my father committed. only recently was i made aware of his diagnosis as a schizophrenic (paranoid), but his irrational, cagey, and downright maniacal behaviors were quite apparent years before any formal diagnosis was made. add to this terrible disease years of alcohol abuse compounded with the effects of prolonged methamphetamine use, and my poor dad was in pretty rough shape. so i, along with my 80 year old grandmother, had him committed. we did this for his safety and wellbeing, although i must admit it was nice not to receive frantic phone calls in the middle of the night or threatening notes, emails, and messages on my answering machine. i used the much needed break to attend to some of my nursing classes, and paid little attention to his treatment "assuming" that he was in good hands. i visited every evening, but i left the medical management up to whom i believed to be professionals. certainly i was no doctor, but even i could see that he was a danger...to himself and others. one night, the quiet ended with a phone call from an illinois sheriff. (i live in iowa) he was released from the dual-rehab facility, unleashed on society, and only hours after they handed him his keys, he was apprehended for driving under the influence. his enabling girlfriend posted his bail. still insistent that he was a hazard, i tried to have him re-evaluated, but to no avail. i could not get a social worker, patient advocate, or any gosh darn city worker (all are great--don't get me wrong) to call me back! two weeks ago my father was arrested for kidnapping, brutally assaulting, torturing, and causing serious detriment to a woman who i will not name. now he faces life in prison, where i am convinced his condition will deteriorate. where is the justice?!? where are the morons who decided to let him go?!? ah, yes, far better to put the "nut" in prison after a crime has been committed then a mental hospital prior to the offense. honestly-is that the thinking?! i apologize if i am rambling, but i am outraged, and what is more, heartsick. much misery could have been prevented on the victims, as well as my fathers, behalf had the system worked the way it should. if anyone has advice or suggestion, i would appreciate them. i am sort of on my own here in left field....
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  2. 10 Comments

  3. by   Liddle Noodnik
    Quote from finness
    four months ago, i made the decision to have my father committed. only recently was i made aware of his diagnosis as a schizophrenic (paranoid)….
    what a horrid horrid mess! i don't blame you if you're devastated!

    they will probably have him plead not guilty by reason of insanity; unfortunately even those are sometimes discharged before they're ready, and not supervised to be sure they stay on meds.

    i feel so bad for you!

    whoever it was that discharged him in the first place better have good documentation, and you could use a good lawyer! this kind of thing happens far too often (once is too many) and the only way it will stop is if people take those docs to court!

    well, i don't know if i helped or hurt, but my heart is in the right place, i really feel for you!
  4. by   jnette
    I'm so very sorry.

    This must pain you deeply. I wish I could offer advice, but I have none. I, too, wish this could have been handled preventively... but it seems that people slip through the cracks so easlily anymore. How very tragic for all involved. (((HUGS))) to you, and I do hope someone here will have some suggestions for you.
  5. by   EarthChild1130
    That just BURNS me up!! :angryfire The mental health system is in shambles from what I've seen in my own state...people just fall right through the cracks!! I don't understand how or why he was set free if he was involuntarily committed. Further, I don't understand why there is such a cavalier attitude about mental illnesses... :angryfire

    I'm sorry...I guess I'm ranting now and not really helping...I honestly don't know what to say, other than more than likely he will be deemed 'not guilty by reason of insanity' as another poster said. At one of our state mental hospitals is a unit there and most of those guys are deemed also not guilty by reason of insanity...I sure wish I knew how to help you...Did your dad have a social worker assigned to his case when he was committed? If so, s/he might be of greater help than I am...Wishing I could help you more, and ((((Hugs))))
  6. by   finness
    thanks all for your kind words. yes, my dad did have a social worker and patient advocate. i was appalled by how useless and uncooperative they were. i only spoke to the patient advocate once, when after months of leaving her voice mails, i called her home phone on a saturday morning! (naughty, i know, but she was also my neighbor!) i have been speaking with my father's public defender, and sadly, cutbacks within the state will more then likely mean at least 1-2 years in prison before there will be room for him in another institution. or so i am told. oh, and forget hippa! the article in the paper was so extensive (ha!) that it listed my preteen brother/sisters names but forgot to mention the unfortunate circumstances leading up to the assault. i am not sure whether to bang my head against a wall or run screaming from a state that has so little regard for the mentally ill! i wish that i would have met people like you, good allnurses folk somewhere along the line. boy, the sysem doesn't just have cracks, it has huge, gaping rifts.
  7. by   missmercy
    The attorney idea is not a bad one!! 1)whoever released him 2) whoever listed the minor kids -- some sicko! Don't they realize the initial trauma is more than enough!! GRRRRR!

    No good advice, just want you to know that I feel for you and will remember you and your family in my prayers. You are right, there are gaping holes in our processes! And it hurts us all when someone falls into one!!
  8. by   finness
    i have "good" news. the attourney said that my father was being evaluated by a doctor today and that they were going to try to lessen the sentence based upon his history of mental illness. i have no doubt that this md will come to the same conclusions as those before him, although i must admit that i have never seen my dad this "well" before. it stands to reason as he is being required to take his medication (zyprexa) regularly and has been clean since they arrested him. thank you for all of your support. i am starting to feel like things *might* work themselves out.
  9. by   NurseyBaby'05
    Sarah-
    I don't have any ideas, but just know that you and ALL of your family are in my prayers. Hang in there! :angel2:
  10. by   finness
    thank you. we do appreciate it!
  11. by   traumaRUs
    Oh Sarah - so very sorry for all your sorrow! I live in Illinois and unfortunately, our sad Gov has closed ALL inpatient state-funded psych beds in the last three years. As an ER RN - we are seeing the consequences daily. Its so bizarre that I read this post today, because yesterday we had a psych pt who had a history of violence attack a police officer with an axe and he ended up getting shot. Mentally ill people need meds and counseling!
  12. by   finness
    Illinois closed ALL inpatient stat-funded psych beds?! That is insanity! Don't politicians realize that if they cut psych funding, EVERYONE will end up paying more in the long run? So true--the mentally ill need meds, counseling, and ADVOCATES within the system. Such a sad story, TraumaRus. I suppose we just have to keep plodding away...



    Quote from traumaRUs
    Oh Sarah - so very sorry for all your sorrow! I live in Illinois and unfortunately, our sad Gov has closed ALL inpatient state-funded psych beds in the last three years. As an ER RN - we are seeing the consequences daily. Its so bizarre that I read this post today, because yesterday we had a psych pt who had a history of violence attack a police officer with an axe and he ended up getting shot. Mentally ill people need meds and counseling!

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