An 89 year old man named Robert Allen was feeling depressed after Christmas.
He went to the emergency room, and told the doctor that he had thoughts of hurting himself. Using his powers under the Baker Act, the doctor sent Robert to a mental health facility called North Tampa Behavioral.
Florida’s Baker Act allows doctors, police, or judges to involuntarily commit patients to psychiatric hospitals for up to 72 hours if they show signs that they may hurt themselves or others.
But North Tampa Behavioral has a problem letting patients go.
Robert repeatedly told the facility he would like to leave. But after the three days, the hospital refused to release him.
This is actually illegal.
The only way the hospital can continue to legally hold a patient after three days is if they’re ordered to do so by a judge.