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Stockwell v. State

Court of Appeals of Kansas

June 23, 2017

Garen W. Stockwell, Appellant,
v.
State of Kansas, Appellee.

         SYLLABUS

         1.

         A person who has been involuntarily confined by the State can file a habeas-corpus petition under K.S.A. 2016 Supp. 60-1501 to challenge the conditions of his confinement. To obtain relief, he or she must show either (1) shocking or intolerable conduct in his or her treatment or (2) continuing mistreatment of a constitutional nature.

         2.

         Every competent person has a constitutionally protected liberty interest to refuse unwanted medical treatment. That right applies to those who have been involuntarily committed to the Kansas Sexual Predator Treatment Program.

         3.

         The State of Kansas, which administers a Sexual Predator Treatment Program, must use reasonable efforts to inform its staff of a patient's do-not-resuscitate request and to have its staff act in accordance with that request should a situation covered by it arise.

         Appeal from Pawnee District Court; Bruce T. Gatterman, judge. Opinion filed June 23, 2017. Reversed and remanded with directions.

          Gerald E. Wells, of Jerry Wells Attorney-at-Law, of Lawrence, for appellant.

          Kimberly M.J. Lynch, senior litigation counsel, Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services, for appellee.

          Before Leben, P.J., Powell and Schroeder, JJ.

          Leben, J.

         Since 1997, Garen Stockwell has lived at Larned State Hospital, though not by choice: He was involuntarily committed to the hospital's Sexual Predator Treatment Program because of the substantial risk that he would reoffend if left at large. Although he can't leave the state-hospital grounds, he retains most of his civil rights because he has been placed in custody in a civil proceeding, not sent to prison for a crime.

         When Stockwell sought to exercise one of those civil rights-the right to refuse medical treatment-hospital staff said he had no right to enter an advance directive like a do-not-resuscitate order, and Stockwell filed suit. Under court order, hospital staff then gave him a form he could fill out to request that he not be resuscitated if he stopped breathing or his heart stopped beating as well as a living-will form. Hospital staff put the completed forms in Stockwell's medical file but told him that under the hospital's policies, it would not honor his requests unless and until two physicians had determined that he ...


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