CHAPTER 219 - VOLUNTARY ADMISSION TO STATE HOSPITAL

AN ACT TO AMEND CHAPTER 76 OF THE REVISED CODE OF DELAWARE, 1935, RELATING TO THE DELAWARE STATE HOSPITAL BY PROVIDING FOR VOLUNTARY ADMISSION TO SUCH HOSPITAL IN CERTAIN CASES.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Delaware in General Assembly .met:

Section 1. That Chapter 76 of the Revised Code of Delaware, 1935, as amended, be and the same is hereby further amended by adding to the end of Paragraph 3074 Sec. 9 the following:

The State Board of Trustees of The Delaware State Hospital at Farnhurst is hereby authorized to establish under the direction and supervision of the said State Hospital a voluntary admission procedure for the observation, study, psychiatric diagnosis and treatment of persons suffering from mental and nervous diseases. Any person under the care and treatment of a physician licensed to practice medicine within this State, or any person sixteen years or upward, who is suffering from mental or nervous disease may, subject to the payment of charges for care, maintenance and support as provided in Section 11 of this Chapter, and upon compliance with the rules and regulations of said State Board of Trustees, made from time to time, be admitted to said Hospital, for a period not to exceed four weeks at any one time, for observation, study, diagnosis and treatment. Said admittance shall be granted upon application of such physician, or, in the case of any person not attended by a physician, upon the personal application and request of such patient, provided, however, that no person not attended by a physician shall be admitted unless the Superintendent shall first determine that such person has sufficient reasoning ability to make such requested voluntary admission, and provided further that if such voluntary patient shall be under the age of twenty-one years, then, and in all such cases, the application shall be signed by the father of said patient if the father is living and has custody of the applicant, otherwise by the mother or guardian having custody of such patient. Any patient so admitted shall remain in said Hospital for a further period or periods not to exceed four weeks' duration each, upon the request of the physician, the patient, or the person upon whose application such patient was admitted to said Hospital and with the approval of the said State Board of Trustees. Any person who shall be admitted into the Hospital shall not be allowed to depart therefrom prior to the expiration of such four weeks period, or any extension thereof, in case any such extension shall have been made, without the consent of the Superintendent of The Delaware State Hospital.

Upon the filing of such application, it shall be the duty of the Hospital to observe and study the person mentioned in said certificate and report its findings to the State Board of Trustees of the said Hospital. If the report of the said Hospital shall be that the said supposed mentally ill or nervous person should be admitted to the said Hospital because of mental or nervous disease, the said State Board of Trustees is hereby authorized, empowered and directed to summon a jury of six responsible persons to determine whether such person is suffering from mental or nervous disease and should be admitted to the said Hospital, if such jury shall be requested by any person related or connected with such supposed insane person by blood or marriage. If such jury shall not be requested, the State Board of Trustees shall appoint a commission consisting of two qualified and licensed physicians who shall determine whether such person is suffering from mental or nervous disease and should be admitted into said State Hospital. The said Jury or the said Commission, as the case may be, shall report their findings to the said State Board of Trustees and if the report shall be that such person is suffering from mental or nervous disease and should be admitted into said Hospital, such report shall be sufficient for the commitment of such person, subject to the right of appeal hereinafter provided. No investigation by the said Jury or Commission shall be had except in the presence of the said mentally or nervously ill person, and the said Jury or Commission shall have power to take testimony and administer oaths.

The said supposed mentally or nervously ill person or any person related to or connected with him by blood or marriage, shall have the right to an appeal from the findings of said Jury or Commission to the Chancellor of the State of Delaware within ten days from the filing of the report of such Jury or Commission with the said State Board of Trustees. The members of said Jury or Commission shall receive such compensation as shall be fixed by general rule by the said State Board of Trustees. This Section shall not apply to or be construed to embrace commitments to said Hospital made by any Court of this State, as provided by law.

Approved April 11, 1945.