Lawsuits: Patients held against their will at Dallas Behavioral Hospital

Lawsuit: Patients held against their will

DALLAS - Two women claim in a pair of recently filed lawsuits that they were "held against their will" at a well-known mental health hospital in North Texas.

Dallas Behavioral HealthCare Hospital, which actually operates in DeSoto, is named as a co-defendant in the cases where the women said they went to the facility for information on outpatient services, only to suddenly be detained.

"Before I knew it, we were escorted through several doors that I didn't know at the time locked behind us," Alexandra Hansen told WFAA in a recent interview.

Hansen, who suffers from severe anxiety, went by the facility in January of 2016 for information on outpatient assistance.

According to the lawsuit, though, after receiving a brief consultation with a doctor through an iPad, she was suddenly "illegally detained" for close to two days.

Her mother was ushered out of the facility, as her family spent a chaotic 43-hour period trying to ensure her release.  

"They did say they had a court order [...] That court order was never real, never ordered," said Hansen.

In a separate suit filed just this week, D'Undria Warren said she experienced something similar in March of 2016.

"They twisted around my words," she said. "Me and my grandmother went there to see about outpatient services."

Warren said she had recently lost a child and wanted to find out more about grief counseling.

She too found herself unable to leave after an iPad consultation with a doctor, according to the petition.

"I was put in a room with someone that said they were going to kill themselves, and also kill somebody," said Warren.

The hospital hasn't returned repeated requests for comment by phone or email.

Warren said she was only released after repeatedly pleading to sign an "Against Medical Advice" form, which ultimately secured her freedom some 24 hours after arrival.

In November, WFAA profiled others held against their will at North Texas hospitals. 

Texas law allows voluntary patients to check out, by signing an AMA (Against Medical Advice) letter to gain release within four hours. That’s unless a doctor declares them unfit to leave. Then the hospital must go to court to prove the patient must be committed against their wishes involuntarily.

Dr. Muhammad Haqqani, the hospital's CEO, is also named as a co-defendant in the recent lawsuits, although there are no accusations he was directly involved in either case.

© 2018 WFAA-TV


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