Certificates (Physician's Certificates)

        When a person presents a danger to themselves or others and requires hospitalization for a psychiatric illness, but is unwilling or unable to agree to become a patient voluntarily, physicians can evaluate the patient and arrange for involuntary hospitalization. In Maryland (laws vary from state to state) two physicians or a physician and one psychologist listed in the National Register of Psychologists and licensed in Maryland may sign the certificates which require the person to be hospitalized. Once hospitalized the patient will be evaluated and treated. The doctors must have examined the patient within the week prior to signing the certificate. If the patient is not released he or she will have a Hearing with an Administrative Law Judge and an attorney ( A Public Defender will be appointed if necessary.). The Hearing will take place within the first 10 days of hospitalization, although the patient may agree once to a one week postponement of the hearing. If the Judge rules that all the criteria are met, the person becomes an Involuntary Patient, committed to the hospital for up to six months and can only be released by the treating doctor or by an appeal through the courts. 
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