Is Violent Behaviour of Patient In Hospital Relevant In Judging the Potential for Violence While In the Community ?

In Donaldson v. Daley (206 AD2d 298, 299 1st Dept 1994), the Appellate Division reversed a Supreme Court order which granted the patient's release. The Court held that "the fact that a patient's condition can be stabilized in a hospital setting does not necessarily lead to the conclusion that the patient can function normally on his own in an outpatient setting (see also Matter of Ford v. Daniel R., 215 AD2d 294, 295 1st Dept 1995). The clear inference in these cases is that nondangerous behavior, while in a hospital setting, is not dispositive of the dangerousness issue (which the hospital must prove in order to involuntarily retain a patient). In the structured setting of a psychiatric hospital, the stressors associated with day-to-day living in the community are absent; the patient's daily needs are attended to. If a patient cannot control himself in the structured environment of a psychiatric hospital, and resorts to violent behavior in that hospital, it is certainly indicative of the potential for violence in the community. Violent behavior while an inpatient is clearly relevant in assessing the potential for violence while in the community.