CHAPTER 229

AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 5122, TITLE 16, DELAWARE CODE, AND PROVIDING FOR EMERGENCY APPREHENSION OF THE DANGEROUS MENTALLY ILL, AND DETENTION AND TREATMENT IN DELAWARE STATE HOSPITAL.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Delaware:

Section 1. Section 5122, Title 16, Delaware Code, is repealed and a new section 5122 enacted in lieu thereof to read:

§ 5122. Emergency apprehension of the dangerous mentally ill; complaint; detention and treatment in the Delaware State Hospital; discharge; fees; liability immunity

(a) As used in this section-

(i) "Dangerous mentally ill person" means a person so mentally ill as to be likely to cause injury to himself or others and to require immediate care, treatment or restraint.

(ii) "Peace officer" means any public officer authorized by law to make arrests in a criminal case.

(b) Upon the signed complaint of any person stating he has knowledge of the facts that a designated person appears to be so mentally ill as to be likely to cause injury to himself or others and to require immediate care, treatment or restraint, setting forth a description of the behavior and symptoms which led him to his conclusion, such alleged mentally ill person shall be promptly taken into custody by any peace officer of the State to whom the complaint is delivered, without the necessity of a warrant. The complaint shall also set forth the address of the signer, his relationship or other connection to the alleged mentally ill person and, if known, the name of the spouse or closest relatives.

(c) Such alleged mentally ill person shall be taken by the peace officer, with all reasonable promptness, to a medical doctor licensed to practice medicine or surgery in the State for examination. The written complaint shall be delivered to the doctor who shall, if reasonably possible, give telephonic notice of the examination to the nearest relative as shown on the complaint, unless such person has signed the complaint. If it reasonably appears to the doctor that the alleged mentally ill person is a dangerous mentally ill person, the said doctor shall so certify in writing, and the alleged mentally ill person shall be transported by the peace officer to the Delaware State Hospital with all reasonable promptness and delivered to the officials of the said Hospital, together with the complaint and the certificate of the examining doctor. If the examining doctor finds that the alleged mentally ill person is not a dangerous mentally ill person, the said doctor shall so certify in writing, the alleged mentally ill person shall be discharged from custody forthwith and the doctor shall forward the complaint and his certificate to the Delaware State Hospital. The doctor's certificate shall set forth a description of the behavior and symptoms of the alleged mentally ill person which led him to his conclusion. It shall also set forth whether or not the nearest known relative was notified of the examination.

(d) Upon receiving an alleged mentally ill person at the Delaware State Hospital, the Superintendent shall detain, care for and treat the said patient for a period not to exceed 72 hours, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays. If it appears that the nearest known relative has not received prior notice of the proceedings the Superintendent shall, if reasonably possible, promptly give such notice. Unless the patient is discharged from the Hospital as cured within that period, then at the termination of the period he shall be discharged unless he is admitted or committed to the said Hospital under some other provision of law.

(e) The State Treasurer shall pay constables, sheriffs and deputy sheriffs for services as peace officers under this section, 10 cents for each mile necessarily traveled and a custody fee of $5 and shall pay medical doctors for services under this section $15 for each case.

(f) No peace officer or medical doctor shall be subject to civil damages or criminal penalties for any harm resulting from the performance of his functions under this section unless such harm was intentional, or the result of wilful or wanton misconduct on his part.

Approved December 21, 1965.