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"Dad, how would you feel if someone you loved killed himself?"
My college-age son, Mike, has stopped taking medication for the mental illness that was diagnosed a year ago, and he is having a relapse. He and I are speeding to an emergency room. Hang on son, I think. The doctors will help you.
But after waiting four hours, a doctor appears and tells me it's illegal to treat Mike. He is not sick enough. He is not in "imminent danger," and because Mike now thinks "pills are poison," the doctor cannot forcibly medicate him under Virginia law. I'm told to bring him back if he tries to kill himself or someone else.