In this case, respondent has been diagnosed as suffering from schizophrenia, bipolar type, and has received services from petitioner since at least 2005.
In the clinical certificate, Dr. F reiterated respondent’s diagnosis and stated that he had personally examined respondent via video between Dr. F and the patient.
Respondent argues that he was entitled to an in-person, rather than remote, personal examination under MCL 330.1434, that Dr. F’s examination via video was therefore inadequate, and that he was denied the effective assistance of counsel because counsel failed to object on this ground.
Mental Health Code
The process for obtaining continuing orders of hospitalization or other forms of treatment based on a person’s mental illness are contained in various provisions of Chapter 4 of the Mental Health Code. The probate court must find that the individual continues to be a person requiring treatment. Any individual 18 years of age or over may file with the court a petition that asserts that an individual is a person requiring treatment. The petition shall be accompanied by the clinical certificate of a physician or a licensed psychologist. A clinical certificate that accompanies a petition must have been executed within 72 hours before the filing of the petition, and after personal examination of the individual.
If the trial court finds that a respondent is still a person requiring treatment, it shall issue another continuing order for involuntary mental health treatment for a period not to exceed 1 year.
A personal examination can be reasonably be defined as a careful inquiry, inspection, or test that is conducted between the examiner and examinee or that relates to the examinee’s person or body. Nothing in these terms states implies that a personal examination must take place with the examiner and examinee in the same room or physical space. Mental illness manifests through thoughts and mood, so while it is possible that physical proximity might provide the examiner with insight into a person’s thoughts or mood, it is at least equally possible that an examination via a videoconferencing software would be sufficient to gain such insight.
In this case, the probate court entered an order granting the petition for a continuing mental health treatment order.
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