AG Schimel issues formal opinion to Wisconsin Assembly

Nov 12 2015

Attorney General Brad D. Schimel issued a formal opinion today to Assembly Committee on Organization Chairperson Robin Vos concerning an individual’s right, a police officer’s authority, and a healthcare provider’s duty under the emergency detention statute.


Chairperson Vos had asked for the opinion on issues under the emergency detention statute related to (1) the right of an individual in custody to make his or her own healthcare decisions; (2) the authority of a police officer to make healthcare decisions for an individual in the officer’s custody; and (3) the duty of a health care provider to the individual and public when the officer and county do not proceed with an emergency detention.


Attorney General Schimel concluded that an individual in custody has the right to make decisions regarding his or her own health care subject to certain exceptions. He also concluded that an officer does not have the authority to make healthcare decisions for the individual in custody. And he further concluded that a healthcare provider has a duty to take whatever steps are reasonably necessary to prevent harm to a patient’s self and others.