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In re M.B.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

October 10, 2018

IN THE MATTER OF M.B., Alleged to be Seriously Mentally Impaired, M.B., Respondent-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Eliza J. Ovrom, Judge.

         Respondent appeals the district court decision finding him to be seriously mentally impaired. AFFIRMED.

          Alexander D. Smith of Parrish Kruidenier Dunn Boles Gribble Gentry Brown & Bergmann, LLP, Des Moines, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Gretchen Witte Kraemer, Special Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.

          Considered by Potterfield, P.J., and Bower and McDonald, JJ.

          BOWER, JUDGE.

         M.B. appeals the district court decision finding him to be seriously mentally impaired. We find there is sufficient evidence in the record to show M.B. lacks sufficient judgment to make responsible decisions with respect to his treatment and is likely, if allowed to remain at liberty, to inflict physical injury on himself or others. We affirm the decision of the district court.

         I. Background Facts & Proceedings

         M.B. has been diagnosed with and treated for schizophrenia. He was in a mental health program in the community. In late 2017, M.B. began refusing to take his prescribed medication for his schizophrenia and his condition deteriorated. On November 29, 2017, M.B. was outside his apartment yelling and screaming at his neighbors, and police officers were called to the scene. He was later served with a notice of eviction due to the incident. M.B. refused assistance from his caseworker and case manager, who filed affidavits alleging M.B. was seriously mentally impaired and stating he was likely to harm himself or others when he was not taking his medication.

         In December 2017, a physician's report of examination by Dr. Ketan Dhadphale found M.B. was mentally ill and unable to make responsible decisions about his treatment due to impaired insight and judgment. Dr. Dhadphale reported M.B. was likely to injure himself or others, noting as recent overt acts "yelling at neighbors, previous history of aggressive behaviors."

         M.B. asked for a continuance and remained in treatment. Dr. Ahmar Butt examined M.B. in January 2018 and found M.B. could not make responsible decisions about treatment, stating, "Pt has symptoms of psychosis/delusions, has poor insight/judgment, has been noncompliant with meds." Dr. Butt stated M.B. was likely to injure himself or others based on the recent overt acts of "Psychosis, command hallucinations." The report also stated M.B. was a "Potential danger to self/others due to loss of touch with reality."

         After a hearing, a magistrate found M.B. was seriously mentally impaired. The magistrate noted M.B.'s "uncontrolled demeanor at trial" and his statements he was hearing both God and the devil. The magistrate found, "Inpatient treatment is the only safe setting for [M.B.] to deal with his paranoia and psychotic behavior." M.B. appealed the magistrate's decision to the district court.

         A hearing was held in the district court on January 11, 2018. Dr. Butt testified M.B. had schizophrenia and had symptoms of psychosis. M.B. told Dr. Butt he heard voices telling "him positive things to do." Dr. Butt testified,

So I want to emphasize that the command hallucinations, when the voices tell people to do things, they could be dangerous per se. Because the voices tell people to do things, and it's very- sometimes it's very hard to resist to ...

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