Q: My mother-in-law is fifty-seven years old and isn’t in good health. My husband and I have seen a rapid regression in her. She doesn’t eat, she sleeps days at a time. She has dizzy spells, vomits, and is in my opinion killing herself right before our eyes. Today we went to see her and my father-in-law and she’s been sleeping for three days, puddle of black puke in a bucket, she’s lost much weight. I’m just in shock. Her husband has tried to take her Med-Express. She won’t go! She won’t seek help. What do we do? She has a six- year-old grandson and my daughter just turned one. Can I call medics and make them take her? Must the husband be a power of attorney? Please advise.
A: Based on what you say, this sounds serious. If you cannot get her to a hospital on her own, the fastest way would be to see if you can have her taken to the hospital under a mental health commitment. An interested party, i.e., family, police, physician, can have someone committed if they are a danger to themselves or others. It sounds like may be a danger to herself. The police would probably take her to a mental health hospital who would then transfer to ER. In the meantime, someone in the family can consult with a lawyer about becoming her guardian. You could also ask Adult Protective Services to do a home visit and assess her based on your concerns.