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Chaldean Healthcare Provider Sees Shift in Culture Costing A Great Deal
By Britney Hermiz :: Tuesday, November 4, 2008 :: 62747 Views :: Health & Fitness, Government & Society

Florida, USA – “The family is the nucleus of society.  When it is weakened or destroyed, we all pay,” says Jenny Jabril, a Chaldean nurse in Florida’s Orange County.  “We all pay when families break-down or fail.  We the people, deal with the dysfunction.  Our taxes go up to care for the abandoned or misguided children, our education system spins out of control, we pay more to prevent crimes, protect our families, or hospitalize these people.” 

Jabril is frustrated over the increased number of substance abuse.  In Florida law, citizens can be held against their will under the Marchman Act. Individuals whose substance abuse makes them a threat to themselves or others can be held at a mental-health facility for up to five days while physicians evaluate them.

Jerry Kassab, president and chief executive officer of Lakeside Alternatives, Orange County's receiving center, said his facility receives about 20 patients a day who are committed under the law.   There are three scenarios in which someone can be committed under the Marchman Act.

In Orange County, Kassab said, most patients are taken to Lakeside by law enforcement officers.  "The most common instance is when someone's out on the street who's acting up, or the police might be called by a store owner because someone's acting up or acting weird," Kassab said. "You also get instances when one family member calls the police because someone in their family is out of control."

That number has increased during the past five years, Kassab said, as law-enforcement culture has shifted toward the belief a hospital is better than a jail.  "This doesn't show up on their records," Kassab said. "It's a good thing to have them receive treatment rather than jail."

Patients can also be committed by a licensed mental-health counselor or physician. According to Kassab, family members sometimes come to Lakeside with patients who don't want to enter the facility voluntarily. If they meet the criteria for involuntary commitment, the center's staff can commit them.

A family member or friend also can seek a court order for someone to be committed. To do that, an individual fills out a petition form and signs it under oath at a county clerk's office. A judge then decides, based solely on the petition, whether the patient meets the criteria.  If the petition is persuasive, the judge enters an order and informs law enforcement officers, who take the patient to a receiving center.

The goal of the Marchman Act commitments is to evaluate patients and persuade them to enter an outpatient treatment program.  "We sit down with them and try to set up an appointment and a plan that they'll keep, but so many don't, and that's just a fact of it," Kassab said.

After the designated evaluation period has passed, physicians at the receiving center can petition the court to hold a patient longer, often just for a few days; but in a few instances, they may ask the court for permission to move the patient to a state-run hospital.

In both instances, the hearings usually take place right at the receiving center, and the patient is represented by a public defender.

"The public defender is very opposed many times, because they believe it's a violation of their civil rights," Kassab said. "Our doctors want to keep them because they believe it's in their best interest."

When the court does decide in the favor of the receiving center, the patient's lawyer often appeals the ruling -- and usually the appeals court will side with the patient, Lenderman said.

Jabril says, “It's a balancing act between a person's liberty and their safety and the safety of the community.  All of this has come about because of the family breaking down. Our healthcare costs have skyrocketed and it has forced other families to pay for the lack of personal responsibility by those who are alcoholic, using drugs, or becoming mentally ill due to a parents STD.”

St. Joseph, MI USA

St. Joseph Chaldean Catholic Church
2442 E. Big Beaver Rd.
Troy, MI 48083
Tel: (248) 528-3676
Fax: (248) 524-1957

Congregation Organizer:
Rev. Michael J. Bazzi

Church Constructing Pastor:
Rev. Sarhad Y. Jammo

Current Pastor:
Msgr. Zouhair Toma

Parochial Vicar:
Rev. Ayad Hanna

 Current Pastor: Msgr. Zouhair Toma

Msgr. Zouhair Toma (Kejbou) was born in Telkaif, Iraq in 1947.  He was ordained a priest in Baghdad, Iraq in 1968, and accepted his first assignment to serve the community of Baquba.  The Monsignor’s leadership skills and organizational talents along with his mastery of theology were immediately evident.  He later assisted Sts. Peter and Paul in Al-Salehia, and St. George in New Baghdad.

In August, 1978 Monsignor Toma was called to serve the growing community of persecuted Chaldeans finding refuge in Australia.   Being the fist Chaldean priest to arrive in Australia he quickly established a parish for the Chaldeans in Sydney to serve their social and spiritual needs.  The parish was named after St. Thomas the Apostle and built a rectory. 

In 1989, for his incredible work he was granted the title of Monsignor, Chaldean Patriarchal Vicar for Australia and New Zealand.  Continuing his passionate work to serve the Chaldean community the Monsignor moved the Parish Center to a more accessible location and built a large church campus featuring a modern community center, residence quarters, and administrative offices in 1995. 

In 2003, Monsignor Toma added a magnificent church to replace the previous one in order to serve the fast growing community and also opened two other centers.  The first was Our Lady Guardian of Plants in Melbourne, and the second was Mar Addai the Apostle in Auckland, New Zealand.  Mar Addai in New Zealand included two very large churches along with rectories and community centers.  Overseeing the Patriarchal Vicariate for 28 years, he managed to inspire six more priests to help minister to the fast growing Chaldean community. 

In August 2006, Monsignor chose to assist the St. Thomas the Apostle Diocese in the U.S. as more Catholic churches were being built in America and address the growing need.  On October 2006, Monsignor was incardinated and appointed Pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Troy.