Lawsuit: Mental Hospital Held Sane Man for 20 Years
John Montin was misdiagnosed as delusional, doctor says
By Neal Colgrass, Newser Staff
Posted Jul 13, 2014 2:25 PM CDT

(Newser) – A man who says he was never mentally ill is suing doctors who kept him in a Nebraska psychiatric ward for nearly 20 years, the AP reports. John Montin, 52, is seeking roughly $33 million in damages and lost wages, saying doctors incorrectly diagnosed him as delusional and gave him needless treatments. He was released a year ago when a regional doctor reviewed his case and said Montin had been misdiagnosed the whole time. "It was an injustice, and he was right from the beginning," Montin's lawyer said of him. It all started in 1992, when police said Montin tried to take ownership of a house in rural Nebraska, claiming it belonged to his ancestors.

Police said there was an 11-hour standoff and a shootout, but no injuries; the story told at trial was quite different: that residents had greeted Montin at the door with shotguns, that police may have heard just one shot, and that Montin hid in a ditch overnight, the Journal Star reports. Either way, prosecutors dropped most charges against him, jurors acquitted him of attempted murder and a weapons charge, and found him not responsible by reason of insanity for false imprisonment and use of a weapon. Montin was then committed, and doctors presumed him delusional based on police reports rather than the court record. Then last year, a regional doctor said Montin had been delusional only before being committed due to a back medication he was taking, one he went off of before entering Lincoln Regional Center. How did Montin finally get released? "We were just banging the drums, and they finally had to start listening," said his lawyer. (Meanwhile, some resolution for 3,500 dead and forgotten Oregon mental hospital patients.)

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Showing 3 of 58 comments
Jul 15, 2014 11:52 AM CDT
A doctor actually wrote a book about his experience of deliberately checking into a pscyh facility to understand what it was like. After he revealed to the staff that he was a psychiatrist doing research, he was labelled as delusional and was stuck in the system. It is still very easy to have someone committed. Google search for madinamerica or unjustly committed psychiatry. It will be eye opening.
John Narayan
Jul 15, 2014 8:40 AM CDT
Jul 14, 2014 4:33 PM CDT
I have read this story on two different sites, and still can not fathom how they got away with this legally. This is something I expect to see in a movie or read in a science fiction book. Crazy(no pun intended)!!!