Where's the line?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by klmno, Sep 30, 2008.

  1. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I'm just throwing this out for discussion about where the line is between how things are viewed for mental health and physical health.

    Let's say, for instance, a person has a heart attack and their car stops dead on the interstate, causing a major pile-up. Is that person convicted for wreckless driving or causing an accident? If a person has an asthma attack and runs a red light or hits another car, are they convicted for causing an accident? Does anyone expect them to be able to get off the road safely while these attacks are happening? Are these people allowed to have a driver's license?

    If a person has bipolar and runs a red light, or hits another car, or stops dead in the interstate, are they convicted? (This is assuming that the person who has BiPolar (BP) is allowed to actually get their drivers license.) Are they convicted because, even though they might have Bipolar, they didn't get off the road safely to prevent an accident?

    If there is a difference, is that discrimination? Why or why not?
  2. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    I think there is generally an assumption that someone with a controlled disease or condition that doesn't effect their ability to operate a motor vehicle is able to drive as anyone else. The person, however, would be compelled not to drive if the were too ill to operate the vehicle safely. In other words, someone who's having chest pains, an asthma attack or hallucinations shouldn't be driving. It's a privilege to drive, not a right.
  3. Jena

    Jena New Member


    that's a good point there is a law surrounding this or a statute i just don't know what it is here in new york. excellent point. i'm going to look it up. that was a really good thing to throw out!
  4. Jena

    Jena New Member

    yes it is discriminatory for them to ask if you are mentally ill yet i know that wasn't your question, yet in Novia Scotia they were trying to discriminate people with whom were renewing their license based on their mental health history........
  5. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Here's me. And this is just me. Is the asthmatic taking his medications, not smoking, getting some exercise? Or is he smoking a pack and a half a day and laying around like a blob? That probably doesn't make as much sense with asthma, but asthma isn't a thought I applied this to before.

    My application is usually if you drive drunk with no past history of drunk driving, are you more or less or just as liable as if you have been busted for duii four times before? Aren't you more aware that you might have an accident?

    So, if you are bi-polar and in the situation you describe, it would have to matter whether you had a diagnosis, are medication and therapy compliant, and if you have a history of violence when you're not medication compliant. I know it's a disease, and I know that part of the disease is saying that you don't have a disease or that you are all better. I've always been a proponent of making certain that anyone who has been in trouble with the law because of a mental illness might not belong in jail, but they should be lined up at the pharmacy counter every day taking their medications and having someone verify that it's being done. (That's what they used to do with antibuse. Not sure if they do that anymore.)

    I have never understood the idea that a person with a disease that makes them non-medication compliant should be allowed to choose to not take medications if the disease has caused them to break the law (in a meaningful way). We don't let people walk around with tuberculosis. We make them take treatment. We make certain that what it is about them that can be harmful to society is contained and treated. Why don't wek do the same with mental illness? Locking people up is wrong. Letting it get so far that the mental illness brings them into a violation of the law that would call for a jail sentence is on society, not the person with the illness.

    Wow! That was convoluted! I hope it made sense and wasn't offensive...
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2008
  6. bran155

    bran155 Guest

    That is a great point. I often think about this. Punishing people with mental illness seems counterproductive. If they can't help their actions, how is that their fault. At the same time, if someone who is Bipolar commits a crime, what do we do with them? I can only imagine the percentage of people who are in the prison system who are mentally ill.

    I watched one of those crime shows on A&E, about a man who was skitzophrenic (spelling?), he was hearing voices telling him to commit murder. He went from hospital to hospital seeking help as he did not want to hurt anyone. He was evaluated and sent on his way from several different facilities. He was journaling all the while about how the voices were getting louder and demanding him to kill and how he didn't want to. This went on for weeks, until finally he snapped and went on a killing spree, killing several people. Of course he went to prison for life. During the trial, the fact that he did seek help came out in evidence. Who's fault was that? He tried to stop himself, he went for help and now he has to spend the rest of his life in prison and several people are dead. I think the "prefessionals" that released him from these hospitals should also be held accountable!!!!

    The mental health system, along with most of the "systems" in this country stink!!!!
  7. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Ok, I'm going to throw out one more hypothetical and then I'll let it rest. LOL!

    Let's say a kid at school has a seizure, a teacher tries to help them so they don't hurt themself and the kid bites the teacher. Is the kid going to get into trouble for assaulting the teacher?

    If a bipolar kid has a melt down or starts raging at school and a teacher tries to contain the kid and the kid hits the teacher or throws a chair that hits the teacher, is this kid going to get in trouble for assaulting a teacher?
  8. house of cards

    house of cards New Member

    I know someone who attempted suicide by taking pills. This person was pulled over for erratic driving (left the spot because of being found and know longer thinking clearly), spent almost a week in a phospital and is being charged with DUI! It is crazy what this added trouble is causing this person. Yet someone could have been hurt. I got no answers.
  9. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Ok...in most of your scenarios I do think someone is going to get some sort of citation. Im not sure exactly what the citation would be though.

    People with bipolar are allowed to have drivers licenses! I have a perfectly good one. Knock on wood, I dont have any points on my license and hope to never get any. I have never had anyone ask me about my mental health history...only my eyesight. Personally I cant see where being bipolar would have a thing to do with a person running a red light or stopping on the freeway.

    Now in your second post about the person with epilepsy biting someone during an epileptic episode...no I dont think they would be charged with assault. That is a known risk that happens during seizures which is why people try to insert hard objects between the teeth.

    The second part is more iffy. In the perfect world nothing would happen to this person either but we dont live in a perfect world. In a hospital setting, most staff would realize that this was a manifestation of the condition but I dont know that lay people are at this point yet.
  10. Jena

    Jena New Member


    Overall it comes down to I believe different states have different laws pertaining to this sort of thing. To use as an example, if a man comes home to find his wife in bed with-another (yes totally different scenario than a difficult child chucking chair at teacher lol), yet once it goes to trial his attny will fight on the issue that "it was heat of the moment", "crime of passion", stating that due to the pyschological detachment at the time "the husband did not know what he was doing", without any prior diagnosis's on record of his mental health history.

    I would imagine whether it be a school setting or an accident on road (which could be due to a side effect of a medication for a BiPolar (BP) person), that would come to light in whatever proceeding would than follow.

    It's a complicated question, and an interesting thought. Should people with mental disabilities be held accountable same as a person with no prior mental health record or diagnosis? You can just give an overall "get out of jail free card" to anyone with a mental disability of any sort, wow can you imagine what would be going on in the world........lol that would be the running excuse. Yet documented proof from a treating physician in any forum whether it be a school mtg., or a court room speaks for itself. I do not believe those with mental disabilities of any kind should be treated (in punishment of actions) as those without.

    Wow if you even go the other end, look at all the past serial killers they all had varying issues, domer, etc. they have tales from their childhood and i'm quite sure pyshciatrict records stating such horrors they themselves survived and boom look what they did. Yet there's alot of grey area there i'm totally taking this to another level and rambling......lol because their working on research to show that there is infact different dna make up that make them do what they do.

    ok i'll stop now.......i'm sure that made absolutely no sense at all :)
  11. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    It depends upon how good of a lawyer you have.

    Yes, you will get a ticket and a fine if you smash into the front plate glass window of the hardware store with-the front end of your car, if you're having an asthma attack.
    Typically, if you've got a good lawyer, they can get you off.
    If it is a repeated offense, like anything else, the state will take away your license.

    I've known a few bipolar people and they've never driven erratically. The ones who are difficult are elderly people with-senile dementia, and yes, the state takes away their licenses.
    Their condition will not improve and they are a danger to others.

    Seizures typically don't affect other people; most people know enough to stay away and just make sure they don't fall out of their chairs, or supervise the patient to make sure they don't choke.

    If a kid is bipolar or is autistic and rages, they are supposed to be removed or separated so they are not a danger to others. If they are a danger to others, especially on a consistent basis, other plans would be made (special school, etc.).

    Once you're elevated to the role of a serial killer, all bets are off. :)
  12. Jena

    Jena New Member

    ok that was funny.......yes i don't know what made me go into serial killer mode........lol was just trying to use an analogy..........i've been told i'm not good at those :)
  13. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Terry...exactly. If someone has a heart attack...or blacks out for whatever reason..and runs into something...well...it is investigated, the law takes over, lawyers get involved...blah blah blah. Its a big...all depends situation.

    You just cant lump serial killers into this mix at all. None of us get a get out of jail free card.
  14. Jena

    Jena New Member

    no just simply stating that when it comes to difficult child's or adults with whom have any type of documented mental health issue of any kind, a good lawyer as terry stated can basically fight it on those grounds. Was just trying to state that even the most horrible crimes that being murder can be fought on pyshcological grounds. so if they can fight it on that, difficult child's can as well. it's all in the documented proof
  15. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Is there an IEP? Did mom try to get an IEP and the school ignored her? Does the kid take his medications? Does the school "forget" to give the kid his medications and feel it's the duty of a 7 year old to remember?

    If the kid with the seizure disorder should be medicated and is not, it's the fault of the person not medicating them. If the kid with the BiPolar (BP) should have special aids and medications and is not, it's the fault of the person/entity who is not meeting needs and medicating.

    So, if the BiPolar (BP) kid should have an aid but they haven't given one or given a bad one, should be on medications but the school is too busy to give them, should have a teacher watching for signs of a meltdown and she's over worked with too many kids in the class, that's the school's fault and the mom and child should sue the school for neglecting the child's known needs.

    Sorry all. But I have to interject here that if we want all of these things in schools, someone is going to have to pay more taxes. I know most school funding is on a local level, but there is national funding that can be used to meet needs that allow the local funding to go further. I'm pretty sure that it's not most of us who need to pay more taxes. I'm also pretty sure that I don't know a lot of people who benefitted from tax cuts.
  16. Jena

    Jena New Member

    just thought of this, i sat thru depositions whereas a person with a mental health disability stole millions upon millions of dollars from an estate, during deposition he was allowed to take breaks, periodically we allowed his dr. there as well. we shortened length of deposition, and extended it to 3 dy usually it's one round, one day and intense.

    normally it would of gone to trial following depositions, yet due to the emotional disability of said person it did not. We concluded after also speaking to dr. at great length as well as various family members that the intent was not there, that the money spent was due to the person's illness, and lack of recording such monies in and out of the account.he was the guardian of the incapacitated person, wild, huh...? ok if i take a bit of time i will remember what this man's diagnosis was. he was a prior guardian for years, yet he was older and had not done it in a long time and decided to do it again, due to the fact it was his "friend".

    long story short he was not charged, he simply had to pay back said monies, of which will never happen, we knew that. it was just a "no win" situation. So the family suffered because when the incapacitated person died which is when i reviewed the accounting and found the losses without back up doctor's, the family would not then recieve their distribution of the estate.
  17. house of cards

    house of cards New Member

    For your difficult child senario, I think it depends on age/size, the understanding of the teachers, how often it occurred and if the school has liability concerns, to name a few. It seems to me that we all bend over backwards to help our kids until they get to a certain age, then society, family, friends begin to be less understanding of our difficult child's problems and more into society's expectatons and the "rights" of society.

    Major threw an umbrella during a rage in preschool, the teacher went out of her way to downplay the incident, it almost hit her but wasn't aimed at her. If he did that today, he would be suspended at the least. In another couple of years I'm sure they would expel him.