(a) A voluntary patient, other than a minor child for whom admission has been sought by his parents or guardian, who has admitted himself to a facility pursuant to subsection (a) of Code Section 37-3-20 or any voluntary patient's personal representative, legal guardian, parent, spouse, attorney, or adult next of kin may request such patient's discharge in writing at any time after his admission. If the patient was admitted on his own application and the request for discharge is made by a person other than the patient, the discharge shall be conditioned upon the agreement of the patient thereto, unless such other person is the legal guardian of the patient's person. The request for discharge may be submitted to the chief medical officer or to any staff physician or staff psychologist or staff registered nurse of the facility for transmittal to the chief medical officer. If the patient or another on his behalf makes an oral request for release to any member of the staff or other service provider, the patient must within 24 hours be given assistance in preparing a written request. The person to whom a written request is submitted shall deliver the request to the chief medical officer within 24 hours, Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays excluded. Within 72 hours, excluding Sundays and legal holidays, of the delivery of a written request for release to the chief medical officer, the patient must be discharged from the facility, unless the chief medical officer finds that the discharge would be unsafe for the patient or others, in which case proceedings for involuntary treatment must be initiated under either Code Section 37-3-41, Code Section 37-3-61, or Code Section 37-3-81.
(b) Notice of discharge of patients who have been transferred from involuntary to voluntary status shall be given pursuant to Code Section 37-3-24.
Ga. L. 1952, p. 94, § 3; Ga. L. 1958, p. 697, § 4; Ga. L. 1960, p. 837, § 4; Code 1933, § 88-504, enacted by Ga. L. 1964, p. 499, § 1; Code 1933, § 88-503.3, enacted by Ga. L. 1969, p. 505, § 1; Ga. L. 1978, p. 1789, § 1; Ga. L. 1983, p. 3, § 28; Ga. L. 1991, p. 1059, § 9; Ga. L. 1992, p. 6, § 37.