Competent and medically stable minor involuntarily committed for longer than 72 hours at Fort Lauderdale Hospital

Fort Lauderdale Hospital was cited by the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) for violating state regulations around involuntary exams, which prohibits holding patients involuntarily for more than 72 hours unless the patient/guardian consents to voluntary admission or a petition for involuntary placement is filed with a circuit court.

AHCA found that a minor was involuntary admitted and held for more than 72 hours, even though the patient was “competent to provide expressed and informed consent for voluntary admission.” The patient was Baker Acted by a hospital Emergency Room physician and transferred to Fort Lauderdale Hospital for involuntary admission. Once at Fort Lauderdale Hospital, a psychiatrist documented that the patient “[was] competent to [provide] expressed and informed consent for voluntary admission to this facility and [was] competent to provide expressed and informed consent for treatment. He/she has the consistent capacity to make well-reasoned, willful and knowing decision concerning his or her medical or mental health treatment.”

AHCA noted in the inspection report that the guardian of the patient did not sign the consent for voluntary admission of the minor and wanted the patient discharged from the facility. The patient was ultimately discharged from the facility, but the date/time of the discharge exceeded the 72 hours of the involuntary examination period allowed under state regulations.

AHCA interviewed the attending psychiatrist who verified “the patient was held for more than the [72] hours involuntary examination period, and that the patient had not met criterion to be kept under involuntary placement.”

The inspection report did not include a plan of correction.