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The 193rd General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Section 94C: Court commitment to tuberculosis treatment center; procedure; notice; hearing

Section 94C. Any justice or associate justice of the district court may commit to the tuberculosis treatment center established under section ninety-four D, for prolonged hospitalization, any person afflicted with active tuberculosis and residing in or present in the jurisdiction of the court, concerning whom a petition has been filed in accordance with sections ninety-four A and ninety-four B.

The procedure for commitment shall be as follows:—

(1) If the petition is filed by the commissioner of public health or his agent under section ninety-four A in a nonemergency situation, the court shall appoint two physicians experienced in the diagnosis, care and treatment of tuberculosis to examine the person and report to the court on his condition and on his willingness and ability to accept proper medical treatment, and to give their opinion on whether or not it would be a serious danger to the public health to allow the person to be unhospitalized. Neither of these physicians shall be on the full-time staff of a state, county or municipal tuberculosis hospital.

The court shall give the person notice of his right to a hearing on the matter of his commitment. If the person does not request a hearing, the judge may order his commitment on the basis of the physicians' reports. If a hearing is requested, the court shall allow the person a reasonable time to prepare his case. The court need not see the person or hear him in open court if it is deemed inadvisable by the physicians because of his contagious condition. If, however, it is determined that the person cannot be present because of his condition, he must be given notice of this fact and of his right to have counsel and witnesses present at the hearing. In the latter case, the court shall appoint legal counsel to represent the person's interests at the hearing if he does not have his own legal counsel.

If the judge finds the person is afflicted with tuberculosis and is unwilling or unable to accept proper medical treatment, and is thereby a serious danger to the public health, the judge shall commit the person to the care and custody of the commissioner, to be cared for and treated at the tuberculosis treatment center.

(2) If the petition is filed by the superintendent of the tuberculosis treatment center under section ninety-four A or ninety-four B, or under section ninety-four B by the superintendent or manager of another sanatorium or hospital, the judge shall give notice to the patient of his right to a hearing on the matter of his commitment. If a hearing is requested it shall be granted and the commitment procedure and medical examination shall be conducted in compliance with paragraph (1). If no hearing is requested the judge may, on the basis of the petition of the superintendent and on such other evidence as he may require, order the person committed.