may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1996).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
In the Matter of: Dung X. Vo.
Filed March 4, 1997
Hennepin County District Court
File No. P69660113
David L. Kraker, 3109 Hennepin Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55408 (for appellant)
Michael O. Freeman, Hennepin County Attorney, John St. Marie, Assistant County Attorney, A-2000 Government Center, 300 South Sixth Street, Minneapolis, MN 55487 (for respondent)
Considered and decided by Short, Presiding Judge, Amundson, Judge, and Mulally, Judge.[*]
On appeal from a judgment for commitment as mentally ill, Dung X. Vo argues the record is insufficient to support a finding that he poses a threat of harm to himself. We affirm.
D E C I S I O N
Involuntary commitment is justified when a proposed patient suffers from a "substantial psychiatric disorder," which is "manifested by instances of grossly disturbed behavior or faulty perceptions," and which "poses a substantial likelihood of physical harm to self or others." Minn. Stat. § 253B.02, subd. 13 (1996) (defining a "mentally ill person"); Minn. Stat. §253B.09, subd. 1 (1996) (setting forth the standard of proof for judicial commitment). A "substantial likelihood of physical harm" may be demonstrated by a recent attempt at or threat of physical harm or by a failure to obtain necessary food, clothing, shelter, or medical care. Minn. Stat. § 253B.02, subd. 13(b). The trial court's findings on the issue of dangerousness will not be set aside unless clearly erroneous. Minn. R. Civ. P. 52.01; In re McGaughey, 536 N.W.2d 621, 623 (Minn. 1995). When reviewing the record, we keep in mind the statutory requirement that supporting evidence be clear and convincing. Minn. Stat. § 253B.09, subd. 1.
Dung Vo challenges only the trial court's finding that his disorder poses a substantial danger to self. The record demonstrates that Dung Vo: (1) is diagnosed with schizophrenia, paranoid and chronic sub-type; (2) denies his mental illness and his need for medication, (3) has no insight into his mental illness; (4) decompensated when he stopped taking medication after his last commitment; (5) dialed "911," and reported that he saw and heard accusers say he was with the Viet Cong; (6) has lost 20 pounds since April 1996 due to his unwillingness to eat "poisoned" food; (7) consumes only 100 to 200 calories per day, even in the hospital, because of his paranoid belief that food is poisoned; and (8) showed a weight loss of three pounds over a four-day period. In addition, a court-appointed medical expert testified Dung Vo has a history of noncompliance with his medications and is unable to provide for his nutritional needs or obtain necessary shelter. These factors, without consideration of testimony that Dung Vo drove and cooked carelessly, support the trial court's findings and justify the court's conclusion that Dung Vo is a "mentally ill person" as defined in Minn. Stat. § 253B.02, subd. 13. See In re Anderson, 367 N.W.2d 107, 109 (Minn. App. 1985) (commitment supported by trial court's finding that proposed patient's substantial weight loss and failure to provide food or medical care for self demonstrated substantial likelihood he would harm himself); see also McGaughey, 536 N.W.2d at 623 (while substantial likelihood of physical harm must be demonstrated by overt failure to obtain necessities, proposed patient need not come to harm before commitment is justified).
[ ]* Retired judge of the district court, serving as judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals by appointment pursuant to Minn. Const. art. VI, § 10.