2017 Mass.App.Div. 139, In re T.M.

Citation:2017 Mass.App.Div. 139
Opinion Judge:NESTOR, J.
Attorney:Diane M. Geraghty Hall for the petitioner. Alice W. Wiseberg for the respondent.
Judge Panel:Present: Coven, P.J., Nestor & Flynn, JJ.
Case Date:August 29, 2017
Court:Massachusetts Appellate Division

2017 Mass.App.Div. 139


Massachusetts Appellate Division, District Court Department, Northern District

August 29, 2017

April 28, 2017

Diane M. Geraghty Hall for the petitioner.

Alice W. Wiseberg for the respondent.

Present: Coven, P.J., Nestor & Flynn, JJ.


This case involves an appeal from the Cambridge District Court authorizing commitment of the appellant, T.M., to McLean Hospital (the "hospital") pursuant to G.L. c. 123, §§ 7 and 8, as well as authorizing medical treatment pursuant to G.L. c. 123, § 8B.

T.M. was admitted to the hospital on August 7, 2016, pursuant to G.L. c. 123, § 12. He presented with suicidal ideation and self-isolation. On August 10, 2016, the hospital filed a petition for commitment of T.M. under G.L. c. 123, §§ 7 and 8 and a petition for determination of incompetency and for authorization of medical treatment for mental illness under G.L. c. 123, § 8B. The hearing was scheduled for August 16, 2016.

On the morning of the hearing, T.M. applied for conditional voluntary status. The hospital denied the request. At the start of the hearing, counsel for T.M. made an oral motion to continue the hearing because she had just received updated medication administration records. Counsel indicated that she needed time to go through the records and for her expert to review the updated records. After argument, in which counsel for the hospital objected to the continuance by averring that T.M. remained "very suicidal" and that, over the weekend, T.M. had asked staff for a noose and a gun, the trial judge denied the request for a continuance on the G.L. c. 123, §§ 7 and 8 portion of the hearing. She indicated that she would withhold making a decision whether the § 8B hearing would be continued until after the §§ 7 and 8 hearing concluded.

There was only one witness at the hearing: Dr. Stephanie Valcourt ("Valcourt"). She was T.M.'s attending psychiatrist upon his admission to the hospital. Dr. Valcourt had previously treated T.M. on two prior occasions in September of 2015 and from January to April of 2016. Dr. Valcourt is board certified in psychiatry and a medical director on the unit. The parties stipulated to her as an expert witness.

At the time T.M. was involuntarily admitted to the hospital on August 7, 2016, he was twenty-four years old. T.M. was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, depressed. He had gone to Massachusetts General Hospital with his mother on that same date after stopping his psychiatric medications. His failure to comply with his medication regimen produced a worsening...

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