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Va Physicians Requesting Change to "Imminent Danger" Standard
From Washington Post, Sat 1/12/2008, pg B2:
An AWOL service member explained in detail to his emergency room doctor how he planned to climb atop Richmond City Hall and pick off legislators with a .50-caliber rifle as they left the statehouse last January. But physician Greg Christiansen's hands were tied. He couldn't prove that the man was an "imminent danger" to himself or others, as required under Virginia's tough standards on involuntary commitment.
Emergency room physicians yesterday asked legislators for more authority when it comes to involuntarily committing mentally ill patients.
It is the first of many mental health-related issues to come before legislators as they try to reform the mental health system, which has come under increased scrutiny since Seung Hui Cho killed 32 people and himself at Virginia Tech in April.
Physicians want to streamline the process under which a magistrate considers whether someone should be involuntarily committed. Currently, physicians must contact locally based mental health providers, who then make a recommendation to a magistrate on whether someone should be detained.
A longer version of the story appeared in the Jan 11 edition.