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In re Civil Commitment of J.B.

Court of Appeals of Indiana

December 12, 2017

In the Matter of the Civil Commitment of J.B., Appellant-Respondent,
v.
Community Hospital North, Appellee-Pettioner.

         Appeal from the Marion Superior Court The Honorable Steven R. Eichholtz, Judge Trial Court Cause No. 49D08-1705-MH-18889

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT Ruth A. Johnson Indianapolis, Indiana Valerie K. Boots Indianapolis, Indiana

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Jenny R. Buchheit Gregory W. Pottorff Ice Miller, LLP Indianapolis, Indiana

          Riley, Judge.

         STATEMENT OF THE CASE

         [¶1] Appellant-Respondent, J.B., appeals the trial court's Order of Regular Commitment, committing J.B. to the custody of Appellee-Petitioner, Community Hospital North (Community North), for care and treatment.

         [¶2] We affirm.

         ISSUE

         [¶3] J.B. raises one issue on appeal, which we restate as follows: Whether the trial court's Order of Regular Commitment is supported by sufficient evidence.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         [¶4] On May 3, 2017, thirty-three-year-old J.B. was admitted to Community North in Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana, after he refused to leave his brother's house (necessitating the assistance of police officers) and was observed by his mother to be snorting his anti-psychotic medicine through a straw. J.B. has a long-established diagnosis of schizophrenia and has previously been committed for involuntary treatment.

         [¶5] On May 4, 2017, Dr. Kanwaldeep Sidhu (Dr. Sidhu), a psychiatrist, examined J.B. At that time, J.B. self-reported having "paranoia[] and delusional thinking." (Tr. p. 6). Specifically, J.B. believed that "people were out to get [him], " and that "people were against him." (Tr. p. 6). J.B. was experiencing "decreased concentration, poor sleep, anger, irritability, being anxious, having racing thoughts[, ] . . . some depression and hopelessness." (Tr. p. 6). Dr. Sidhu learned that J.B. was homeless and had a habit of snorting or eating heroin.

         [¶6] Thereafter, Dr. Sidhu examined J.B. on a daily basis. He observed J.B.'s symptoms of paranoia and suspiciousness toward other people. In addition to J.B. admitting that he hears voices, hospital staff observed J.B. talking "to what we call internal stimuli." (Tr. p. 8). Hospital staff further ascertained that J.B. "has a really short fuse" and becomes violent and agitated due to his paranoia. (Tr. p. 8). Within a short time after being admitted, J.B. was involved in two physical altercations with other patients, and he made threats to hospital staff, including: "[B]itch, I'll cut your throat and I'll pop you in the knee." (Tr. p. 14).

         [¶7] On May 11, 2017, Community North filed a Petition for Involuntary Commitment, accompanied by Dr. Sidhu's Physician's Statement. On May 18, 2017, the trial court conducted a hearing and subsequently issued an Order of Regular Commitment. In so doing, the trial court found that J.B. suffers from schizophrenia, a psychiatric disorder; he is dangerous to others; he is gravely disabled; and ...


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