A 95 year old man who lived in a nursing home was fatally shot with a bean bag gun when he resisted efforts by the police to take him to the hospital:

The Cook County medical examiner’s office said that the cause of death of John Warna was hemoperitoneum – bleeding in the stomach area from blunt force trauma of the abdomen after he was shot with a bean bag gun.

Warna, wielding a 12-inch blade and a cane, was shocked with a Taser and then hit by the bean-bag rounds from police before later dying at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn about 2:30 a.m. Saturday, according to authorities.

According to an e-mailed press release from Park Forest police, officers were sent to 101 Main Street in Park Forest about 8:42 p.m. Friday to help a private ambulance company with a “combative” resident of the home there — Warna. The Victory Centre of Park Forest, a supportive living community for adults 65 and older according to its website, is at that address.

Warna was being “involuntarily” committed for medical treatment by staff at the Victory Centre, the release said.

When police arrived, Warna was threatening staff and paramedics with a metal cane and a 2-foot metal shoehorn, the release said. Police demanded that he drop the cane and shoehorn, but he did not comply and then picked up a “12-inch butcher type kitchen knife.”

I have mixed feelings about this, and I would like to know the nature of his involuntary commitment. Was it for mental illness or physical illness? If the man was violently mentally ill, or incompetent and had Alzheimers, it is well known that such patients can become violent. That is why staff members at mental hospitals and psychiatric facilities are specially trained and know how to employ restraints and sedative drugs. So, I’m wondering why the police were called in the first place.

If, OTOH, the man did not want medical treatment for a physical problem and he was otherwise sane, he had every right to refuse treatment. People do that all the time; it is known as “against medical advice.”

What worries me is that the blurring of the distinction between physical and mental illness might cause medical authorities to imagine that they have the power to force sane people into treatments they don’t want. Or (as in the case of this girl), treatments they neither want nor need.