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In re K.T.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

August 7, 2019

IN THE MATTER OF K.T., Alleged to be Seriously Mentally Impaired, K.T., Respondent-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Robert B. Hanson, Judge.

         K.T. appeals a district court order finding her seriously mentally impaired.

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

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

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

          GREER, JUDGE.

         K.T. challenges the district court's finding of serious mental impairment and claims there is insufficient evidence that she is unable to make responsible decisions with respect to her care, hospitalization, or treatment. On our review, we affirm.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings.

         On January 9, 2019, while K.T. was hospitalized, a psychiatric nurse practitioner and a hospital social worker filed commitment paperwork. The nurse practitioner noted K.T. has had a long hospitalization and he does not believe she can care for herself. The nurse practitioner explained,

Since being hospitalized, [K.T.] has had difficulties with disruptive behaviors. She has delusional and paranoid thoughts. She has attempted to elope from the unit several times. She has refused to take any medications that have been offered to her to help and control her behaviors and to help with her psychotic symptoms.

         On January 14, after a hearing, a magistrate found K.T. was "very aggressive towards others," could not take care of herself, had no insight into her illness or need for treatment, and did not take prescribed medications. The magistrate ordered that K.T. be committed for inpatient treatment. K.T. timely appealed this ruling to the district court.

         On February 6, K.T.'s treating physician submitted a report to the court. The physician opined K.T. is mentally ill and experiencing "Major Neurocognitive Disorder with significant cognitive deficits in multiple spheres including memory and executive functioning." The report noted K.T. has poor insight into her illness and need for treatment. The report continued,

[K.T. i]s not safe in her home setting and has been admitted multiple times in the past year for treatment of fractured bones, infections, acute mental status changes, and stroke. She is intermittently not cooperative with cares for diabetes and hypertension. Has left skilled nursing facilities prior to being stabilized.

         On February 7, the district court held a trial de novo. The court heard testimony and received reports from K.T.'s treating physician. At the conclusion of the trial, the court found that K.T. has a mental illness, lacks sufficient judgment to make responsible decisions with regard to her hospitalization or treatment, and, as a result, K.T. was likely to physically injure herself or others if allowed to remain at liberty without ...


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