The Lafourche Coroner's Office also has a duty in the mental health area. Contact our office for Emergency Order of Protection ( OPC ) if you meet the following criteria:
The Coroner can order a psychiatric evaluation on a patient under an Order of Protective Custody (OPC).
If the patient meets the required criteria for an Order of Protective Custody (OPC) we will instruct you where to go to meet us to sign the legal paperwork.
Once the paperwork is completed a member of the Sheriff's Office will pick the patient up and bring them to the designated facility for an evaluation. The Coroner's responsibility is to only order the patient to the facility and we have no control on whether the physician will keep the patient or discharge. Please note, the patient will be billed by the hospital. The Lafourche Parish Coroner's Office has no control over bills that are sent to the patient. If the patient is deeemed for necessary hospital stay, the Emergency physician can issue a Physician Emergency Certificate (PEC) and within the next 72-hours a second evalulation will be performed by the Coroner's Office. The Coroner can either find the patient to be kept or to be discharged. This is called a Coroner's Emergency Certificate or CEC. Under the mental health law, the Coroner does not keep a patient in the hospital. Once a patient is committed to a hospital under the mental health law, the attending psychiatrist decides how long the patient stays.
There are limitations under the mental health law that limits the stay to 15 or 28 days depending on the circumstances. However, the psychiatrist can initiate a legal process called a judicial commitment. The patient can be kept in a facility against his/her will if a judicial commitment is issued by a judge.
If the patient is a Mental Health Clinic patient, the Coroner's Office will make every effort to have the patient sent the the clinic where all his/her records are kept and the treating physian at the Mental Health Clinic is aware of the individual patient.
To receive an Order of Protective Custody (OPC) you must contact our office and meet the criteria for the order.
If the patient is out of control or making immediate threats, please call 911
Lafourche Coroner's Office 985-537-7055
Dr. John C. King, Coroner
MENTAL HEALTH FORMS & INFORMATION Mental Health Forms
2006 Louisiana Laws - RS 28:54 — Judicial commitment; procedure
§54. Judicial commitment; procedure
A. Any person of legal age may file with the court a petition which asserts his belief that a person is suffering from mental illness which contributes or causes that person to be a danger to himself or others or to be gravely disabled, or is suffering from substance abuse which contributes or causes that person to be a danger to himself or others or to be gravely disabled and may thereby request a hearing. The petition may be filed in the judicial district in which the respondent is confined, or if not confined, in the judicial district where he resides or may be found. The hearing shall not be transferred to another district except for good cause shown. A petitioner who is unable to afford an attorney may seek the assistance of any legal aid society or similar agency if available.
B. The petition shall contain the facts which are the basis of the assertion and provide the respondent with adequate notice and knowledge relative to the nature of the proceedings.
C. Upon the filing of the petition, the court shall assign a time, not later than eighteen calendar days thereafter, shall assign a place for a hearing upon the petition, and shall cause reasonable notice thereof to be given to the respondent, respondent's attorney and the petitioner. The notice shall inform such respondent that he has a right to be present at the hearing; that he has a right to counsel; that he, if indigent or otherwise qualified, has the right to have counsel appointed to represent him by the Mental Health Advocacy Service, and that he has the right to cross examine witnesses testifying at any hearing on such application.
D.(1) As soon as practical after the filing of the petition, the court shall review the petition and supporting documents, and determine whether there exists probable cause to believe that the respondent is suffering from mental illness which contributes to his being or causes him to be a danger to himself or others or gravely disabled, or is suffering from substance abuse which contributes to his being or causes him to be a danger to himself or others or gravely disabled. If the court determines that probable cause exists, the court shall appoint a physician, preferably a psychiatrist, to examine the respondent and make a written report to the court and the respondent's attorney on the form provided by the office of human services of the Department of Health and Hospitals. The court-appointed physician may be the respondent's treating physician. The written report shall be made available to counsel for the respondent at least three days before the hearing. This report shall set forth specifically the objective factors leading to the conclusion that the person has a mental illness or suffers from substance abuse, the actions or statements by the person leading to the conclusion that the mental illness or substance abuse causes the person to be dangerous to himself or others or to be gravely disabled and in need of immediate treatment as a result of such illness or abuse, and why involuntary confinement and treatment are indicated. The following criteria should be considered by the physician:
(a) The respondent is suffering from serious mental illness which contributes or causes him to be dangerous to himself or others or to be gravely disabled or from substance abuse which contributes or causes him to be dangerous to himself or others or to be gravely disabled.
(b) The respondent's condition is likely to deteriorate needlessly unless he is provided appropriate medical treatment.
(c) The respondent's condition is likely to improve if he is provided appropriate medical treatment.
(2) The respondent or his attorney shall have the right to seek an additional independent medical opinion, when necessary, in their discretion. If the respondent is indigent, this opinion may be paid for by the Mental Health Advocacy Service, upon the approval of its executive director. Reasonable compensation of the appointed examining physicians and all court costs shall be established by the court and ordered paid by respondent or petitioner in the discretion of the court. If it is determined by the court that the costs shall not be borne by the respondent or the petitioner, then compensation to the physicians and all court costs shall be paid from funds appropriated to the judiciary, but such court costs shall not exceed the sum of seventy-five dollars.
(3) If the respondent refuses to be examined by the court appointed physician as herein provided, or if the judge, after reviewing the petition and an affidavit filed pursuant to R.S. 28:53.2 or the report of the treating physician or the court appointed physician, finds that the respondent is mentally ill or suffering from substance abuse and is in need of immediate hospitalization to protect the person or others from physical harm, or that the respondent's condition may be markedly worsened by delay, then the court may issue a court order for custody of the respondent, and a peace officer shall deliver the respondent to a treatment facility designated by the court. The court shall also issue an order to the treatment facility authorizing detention of the respondent until the commitment hearing is completed, unless he is discharged by the director.
(4) Unless the individual is currently hospitalized or under an emergency certificate, he shall be allowed to remain in his home or other place of residence pending an ordered examination and to return to his home or other place of residence upon completion of the examination. An examining physician may execute an emergency certificate pursuant to R.S. 28:53 if he deems that action appropriate. In such a case, the respondent shall be admitted pursuant to R.S. 28:53 pending the hearing on the petition.
E.(1) Public and private general hospitals and their personnel who provide services in good faith for commitments defined in this Part shall not be liable for damages suffered by the patient as a result of the commitment or damages caused by the patient during the term of the commitment, unless the damage or injury was caused by willful or wanton negligence or gross misconduct. This limitation shall only apply to public and private general hospital personnel who within the preceding twelve-month period have received appropriate training in nonviolent crisis intervention and such training has been documented in their personnel files. The training shall be provided by an instructor who has attended a course in crisis intervention taught by a certified instructor.
(2) The provisions of this Subsection shall not affect the provisions of R.S. 40:2113.6 or the Federal Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act, 42 USC 1395dd.
Amended by Acts 1972, No. 154, §1; Acts 1977, No. 714, §1; Acts 1978, No. 782, §1, eff. July 17, 1978; Acts 1980, No. 682, §1; Acts 1982, No. 209, §1; Acts 1990, No. 204, §1; Acts 1993, No. 899, §1; Acts 2005, No. 480, §1.
Disclaimer: These codes may not be the most recent version. Louisiana may have more current or accurate information. We make no warranties or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained on this site or the information linked to on the state site. Please check official sources.
This guide relates to non-emergency proceedings.
It is meant to be used by lawyers who assist clients in judicial commitment proceedings at no charge or at a reduced fee.
Persons who wish to represent themselves will find that they probably will need at least limited representation by a lawyer. See our separate booklet regarding how limited representation works.
Standards for Involuntary Commitment.
A person may be judicially committed to involuntary care and treatment in a hospital or treatment resource if ... the person has a mental illness or serious emotional disturbance,AND the person poses a substantial likelihood of serious harm because of the mental illness or serious emotional disturbance, AND the person needs care,training, or treatment because of the mental illness or serious emotional disturbance, AND all available less drastic alternatives to placement in a hospital or treatment resource are unsuitable to meet the needs of the person.
Determination of Substantial Likelihood of Serious Harm. A person poses a “substantial likelihood of serious harm” if . . . the person has threatened or attempted suicide or to inflict serious bodily harm to himself or herself,OR the person has threatened or attempted homicide or other violent behavior, OR the person has placed others in reasonable fear of violent behavior and serious physical harm to them, OR the person is unable to avoid severe impairment or injury from specific risks, AND there is a substantial likelihood that the harm will occur unless the person is placed under involuntary treatment. Courts.
Jurisdiction for involuntary commitment proceedings is given to Chancery,Circuit,and some Juvenile and Probate Courts.
Cases may be filed in the county where the person resides or may be found. If the person has already been institutionalized and the case is begun in the county where the institution is located,the court may transfer the case for good cause to the county where the person resides.
All of the following persons may file a complaint to require involuntary care and treatment of a person with mental illness or serious emotional disturbance:
a parent,legal guardian,legal custodian,conservator,spouse,or a responsible relative of the person alleged to be in need of care and treatment,and a licensed physician, a licensed psychologist designated as a health service provider by the board of healing arts and actively practicing as such a health or public welfare officer, an officer authorized to make arrests in the state,and the chief officer of a facility in which the person is a patient.
Guardian Ad Litem.
A judge or chancellor is permitted but not required to appoint a guardian ad litem.
No person may be judicially committed (unless two licensed physicians or one licensed physician and one licensed psychologist designated as a health service provider by the board of healing arts and actively practicing as such) file certificates of need for care and treatment.They must certify that the person satisfies the statutory requirements and show the factual foundation for the conclusions about each requirement, No defendant who is a child under 16 years of age may be judicially committed unless one of the certificates is by a physician or psychologist having experience with children.
A petition may be filed without certificates from professionals so long as the petitioners state under oath that the defendant has refused to be examined by professionals.
Place of Commitment
If a licensed private or local public hospital has contracted with the Department of Health to serve persons who are committed and has available suitable accommodations, the court will commit them to the facility. Otherwise, judges have a choice between a state facility, a licensed public hospital,and a Veterans’ Administration facility.
The court may commit the defendant to a licensed private hospital under two conditions:
(1) someone has made arrangements to pay the cost of care and treatment or the facility chooses to accept the defendant when no one has made arrangements to pay the cost and
(2) placement in the facility is more appropriate to the needs of the defendant than placement in a state facility. In the case of veterans, there must be a certificate showing that VA facilities are available and that the veteran is eligible for care or treatment there.