Forcing medical treatment for severely mentally ill

I saw Brandon recently.  I prefer to visit him in the state hospital rather than in jail.  In jails, most visitations are conducted in separate rooms through closed circuit TV.  Also, when he’s not on medication (which is usually the case in jail), it’s never a pleasant visit.  He also tends to remain at the state hospital for several months, giving me plenty of time to make travel arrangements.

Luckily, Brandon had been on court-ordered meds for about 12 days when we arrived, so he was in good spirits and capable of holding conversation.  Last time we saw him, he was clean shaven.  This time, he had a full beard.  I should stop being surprised by how he looks, but somehow it happens every time.  He looks a bit like this, but with shorter hair on top:

This is how most people picture a homeless person, but it was hard to find a picture like this.  Most homeless people at least clip the mustache hair.  I asked Brandon if he was going to keep the beard, and he said “It’s growing on me,” which received a few muffled chuckles from the people in the room.

The other thing that shocked me was that he apparently is wearing contacts.  What?  The medical doctor examined him and said he was wearing a pair — I kid you not.  Where did he get contact lenses?  Well, he says he had them in his car, which was impounded in 2009.  I have to assume that at some point in his jail/hospitalization, he traded for them.  We did establish that he has no contact maintenance supplies whatsoever.

This is a prime example showing that even with guardianship, court-ordered medication and treatment, some things cannot be controlled when dealing with the severely mentally ill.  Brandon needs all sorts of follow-up tests; tests that I could sign for with my guardianship papers.  However, if he refuses, they won’t force him unless it relates to a life threatening treatment.  It makes some sense.  On the other hand, will they allow him to wear these contacts until he gets a cornea ulcer?  It would be wise to have some preventative measures.


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