Britney Spears was released from a psychiatric ward on Wednesday (February 6) after almost a week of treatment at Los Angeles’ UCLA Medical Center. The troubled singer had been hospitalized there last week, and she was released Wednesday despite her hold having been extended to 14 days on Sunday, as People.com reported over the weekend. According to California law, the only way someone on an involuntary hold can be released is if they’ve been assessed by their psychiatrist as no longer a danger to themselves or others, and according to TMZ.com, doctors determined that Spears did not pose such a threat.
“[Spears’ release] occurred without any law enforcement intervention, and for the public that’s a good thing,” Captain Sharyn Buck, commander of the North Hollywood police station, which covers the area of Spears’ home, told CNN.
Unlike other recent situations involving Spears, she was not mobbed by paparazzi upon her exit from the hospital — she left without much notice, according to the Times. She was escorted by a private-security detail. Spears was photographed and videotaped driving around Los Angeles later Wednesday afternoon, and according to UsMagazine.com, she reunited with paparazzo friend Adnan Ghalib at a hotel in Beverly Hills, California, shortly after her release. Sources told the Times that she would be getting additional treatment.
While the singer was placed under a 14-day hold on Sunday, People.com reported that only her psychiatrist would have had the authority to request the involuntary stay, noting that she could have been released earlier if she legally demanded it or her doctor deemed her well enough for outpatient treatment. According to TMZ.com, a law-enforcement official said the hospital released her because she was no longer required to stay there after 11:30 a.m. Wednesday.
The conservatorship — which Britney’s parents wanted to establish while she was in the hospital so that she would return home in a controlled environment — is still in place.
Early Thursday morning, Spears was rushed to the hospital by ambulance for the second time in a month. According to reports in the Los Angeles Times, Spears was physically removed from her home by police and put into an ambulance at around 1 a.m. PT, then escorted to the UCLA Medical Center by a phalanx of more than a dozen motorcycle officers, two police cruisers and two police helicopters.
Spears was taken to the hospital to “get help,” a Los Angeles police officer who spoke on condition of anonymity told The Associated Press.
On January 3, Spears was placed on a 72-hour mental-health evaluation hold when police were called to her house after she would not give up custody of her two children to a representative for ex-husband Kevin Federline, who had come to pick them up. She was released two days later.
[This story was originally published at 4:58 p.m. ET on 2.6.2008]