17-37. When party ill, cause determined in his absence.

When, from the illness or infirmity of the person directed to be produced by a writ of habeas corpus, such person cannot, without danger, be brought before the court or judge where the writ is made returnable, the party in whose custody he is may state the fact in his return to the writ; and if the court or judge is satisfied of the truth of the allegation, and the return is otherwise sufficient, the court or judge shall proceed to decide on such return and to dispose of the matter in the same manner as if the body had been produced. (1868-9, c. 116, s. 23; Code, s. 1648; Rev., s. 1851; C.S., s. 2239.)