Friday, March 31, 2006

Psychiatric Pervert Dies

Psychiatrist pervert Dr William Kerr from North Yorkshire died this week.

Over a twenty year period Kerr indecently assaulted at least sixteen women. Eventually his name was removed from the medical register and put on the sex offender register where he joined the ranks of many other psychiatrists. The numbers of psychiatrists on the sex offenders register is expected to grow considerably over the coming years as they are hunted down one by one. Those victims who were prepared to come forward were awarded £300,000 in compensation between them in 2003.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Search warrant issued for prominent psychiatrist

Search warrant issued for prominent psychiatrist
Kate Williamson, The Examiner
Mar 27, 2006 9:00 AM

SAN MATEO, Calif. - San Mateo police have served a search warrant on the home and office of a prominent child psychiatrist who settled a lawsuit alleging molestation last summer, police confirmed Sunday.

Police served the warrant March 17 on the property of William Ayres, a former president of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry who was lauded by San Mateo County Supervisors in 2002 for his lifelong work with children.

San Mateo police Capt. Mike Callagy confirmed that the warrant was served, but would not say what the police were investigating.
Ayres declined to comment and referred questions to his attorney, who could not be reached at press time.

Ayres settled a lawsuit in July 2005 with a 40-year-old man who said Ayres molested him in the late 1970s when he was one of his patients, according to news reports. Ayres said he was innocent of the allegations.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Psychiatrist Pleads Guilty On Medicaid Fraud

Psychiatrist Pleads Guilty On Medicaid Fraud
posted March 23, 2006

A psychiatrist with offices in Chattanooga, Cleveland and Athens on Thursday morning pleaded guilty to Medicaid fraud.

Dr. Gulshan Sultan had been indicted on 19 counts of fraud.

She appeared before Federal Judge Curtis Collier in Chattanooga.

Dr. Sultan faces sentencing on July 7 at 2 p.m. She faces up to five years in prison, prosecutor Cynthia Davidson said.

Officials said on a number of occasions, Dr. Sultan would enter a bill code for a 20-45 minute visit, when those visits were actually five to 10 minutes in length.

TBI investigators with the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit said the overbilling occurred between May and September 2003.

Her Chattanooga office was on Cherokee Boulevard and in Cleveland on Clingan Ridge Drive NW.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Psychiatrist Admits Professional Misconduct

Psychiatrist Admits Professional Misconduct
1:21 PM, 22 Mar 2006
Print this story
A psychiatrist who failed to manage a patient's care has pleaded guilty to a charge of professional misconduct.

The doctor, who has interim name suppression, appeared before the Medical Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal this morning

The charge was laid after the doctor failed to adequately manage the care of an elderly patient between 2000 and 2001.

The woman, who was schizophrenic, spent six weeks in hospital after her medication was changed.

The hearing heard the doctor's standard of care fell well short of that expected of a practitioner in his position.

His note-taking was not up to scratch, which put the patient at risk.

Lawyers for the doctor say the region where he was working at the time was short-staffed.

He is still practicing full-time.

© NewsRoom 2006

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

FDA Must Act

March 19, 2006

Legal ADHD Speed - Becoming Drug Of Choice For Americans

FDA Must Act
by Evelyn Pringle

A study published online in the February 2006, Journal of Drug and Alcohol Dependence, that examined data from a 2002 survey of about 67,000 households, estimates that more than 7 million Americans have misused stimulant drugs meant to treat ADHD, and “substantial numbers of teenagers and young adults appear to show signs of addiction, according to a comprehensive national analysis tracking such abuse.”

The statistics are alarming because people are using the drugs recreationally or to boost academic and professional performance. The scientists who published the study concluded that about 1.6 million teenagers and young adults had misused these stimulants during a 12-month period and that 75,000 showed signs of addiction.

Last month, the FDA's Drug Safety and Risk Management Advisory Committee held 2 days of hearings, and after listening to all the testimony and reviewing the data presented, recommended that all ADHD drugs carry a black box warning on increased cardiovascular risks.

This month, the Pediatric Advisory Committee is meeting on March 22, 2006, and will focus on neuropsychiatric adverse event reports and trial data on ADHD medications. The committee will also receive an update on efforts to better understand cardiovascular adverse events possibly related to ADHD medications, according to the FDA web site.

During the hearings last month, the Alliance for Human Research Protection, asked the FDA to issue (1) a public advisory; (2) a "dear doctor" letter to every doctor in America to apprise them of the essentially lethal side effects that are being tracked; and (3) to solicit the reporting of any and all adverse events of which they are aware.

Allen Jones, speaking as a representative of the Alliance, told the panel the FDA should instruct the pharmaceutical industry to advise the FDA of all adverse events that have been reported concerning ADHD drugs immediately, and also it should demand that all clinical trials in possession of the drug companies be turned over to the FDA so that independent researchers can review them for adverse events.

"We don't have the luxury of time to wait for the future trials," he pointed out. "Children are dying," he said.

Ellen Liversridge, having lost her son to side effects of the drug Zyprexa before they were made known in a black box warnings, appeared to speak on behalf of all parents who have lost their children due to adverse reactions to prescription drugs.

“I grieve particularly today for the 51 dead of ADHD drugs that were announced yesterday by the FDA,” she told the panel.

“I guess my up-front message, front and center,” she continued, “is that you know that ADHD drugs can cause serious side effects and death, including sudden death, hypertension, myocardial infarction, stroke, and possibly bipolar disorder.

“This being the case,” she said, “I urge you to recommend that these drugs have an appropriate black box warning placed on the label starting immediately.”

Sandra Lucas, appeared at the hearing to speak on behalf of the Citizens Commission on Human Rights, a psychiatric watchdog group, and told the panel, “we do know that the side effects of the stimulants are not only present, they are extremely serious and sometimes lethal.”

“So,“ she asked the committee, “while the FDA ponders the problem of studying the issue and conducting the studies that may have inherent flaws, what real, immediate protections are to be put in place for parents and children?”

During the hearing, Drug Safety panel member, Dr Art Levin, told the committee, “I think we have to recognize that when a drug is approved and marketed the public assumes a level of comfort in the safety of that drug unless they are told otherwise.”

“And, for us to sit around and talk about this,” he continued, “to have three advisory committee meetings discussing the signals and not to make, at the very least, a very strong warning to people that there is uncertainty here about the safety of these drugs and that they need to be aware of that pending clarification I just think is inappropriate, unethical behavior.”

Committee member, Dr Steve Nissan advised, “we have to elevate the level of concern and if it slows the growth of this, that is probably appropriate because I think most observers would argue that ten percent of ten year-olds do not have this disease and what has happened is that this is out-of-control use of drugs that have profound cardiovascular effects and, as a cardiologist, I can tell you that,” he said.

Panel member, Dr Curt Furberg, recommended that ADHD drugs also come with a patient guide “so that when parents are filling prescriptions for their kids they get a written document laying out the state of knowledge, or lack of the state of knowledge and the potential risks so they are reminded each time that there is a potential risk and we are trying to find solutions to it,” he advised.

Since last month’s recommendation for a black box warning on cardiovascular events, FDA reviewers announced a recommendation for stronger warnings on all ADHD drugs due to reports of numerous adverse events like mania and psychosis in clinical trials, including modafinil.

On March 14, 2006, an FDA review was posted to the agency's web site in advance of next week's meeting. The FDA said stronger warnings are needed on the risk of psychosis, a mental disorder characterized by the inability to distinguish real and imaginary events.

"The most important finding of this review is that signs of psychosis or mania, particularly hallucinations, can occur in patients with no identifiable risk factors, at usual doses of any of the drugs used to treat ADHD," according to a memo dated March 3 from two members of the agency's ADHD psychiatric review team.

The review said current labeling neither addresses those concerns nor does it "clearly state the importance of stopping drug therapy in any patient who develops hallucinations or other signs or symptoms of psychosis or mania during drug treatment of ADHD."

From January 2000, through June 30, 2005, the review found nearly 1,000 reports of psychosis or mania possibly linked to the drugs, including Adderall, Concerta, Ritalin and Strattera. The reports were pulled from the FDA's database and from the drug makers themselves after the FDA had requested additional information from the drug companies.

The FDA found a "substantial portion of the psychosis-related cases were reported to occur in children 10 years or less," an age group which according to the FDA, does not typically suffer from psychosis.

"The predominance in young children of hallucinations, both visual and tactile, involving insects, snakes and worms is striking and deserves further evaluation," the FDA noted.

Last fall, on September 29, 2005, the FDA issued a public health advisory to alert physicians of reports of suicidal thinking in children and adolescents associated with Strattera, and directed Eli Lilly, manufacturer of Strattera, to develop a Medication Guide for patients and caregivers.

Although Strattera is marketed as a "nonstimulant" medication, according to pediatrician, Dr DuBose Ravenel, MD, FAAP, of Cornerstone Pediatrics, “it is in fact a stimulant every bit as much as the traditional stimulants, as evidenced by even a cursory consideration of its pharmacological action, and evidenced by the fact that it is classified as such by the World Health Organization.”

Dr Fred Baughman, ADHD expert and well-known author, will testify before the committee next week on behalf of the International Center for the Study of Psychiatry and Psychology.

“We know these drugs are poisons,” Dr Bughman warns, “and we know they are highly addictive, dangerous and sometimes deadly.”

He points to the senseless death of children on ADHD drugs. “Matthew Smith is dead today not because of ADHD,” he says, “but, as carefully delineated by the medical examiner, his chronic Ritalin/methylphenidate exposure.”

“Nor is there any other plausible explanation for the death of Stephanie Hall, 11 years old of Canton, OH,” he advises. “No physical predisposing factor other than Ritalin was present,” he notes, “leading up to her death, in bed, by cardiac arrhythmia.”

“The main question the FDA needs to answer concerns ADHD,” Dr Baughman says, “the "disorder" these addictive, dangerous, sometimes deadly drugs are used to treat.”

“The shocking fact of the matter is that it is not a disorder/disease at all,” he explains, “children said to have it are entirely normal meaning they bear no objective, demonstrable, diagnosable, abnormality, meaning there is no justification for prescribing these or any other drugs for so-called ADHD--a wholly fictitious, wholly subjective entity.”

According to Dr David Stein, Ph D, Professor of Psychology at Longwood University, “the risks of psychiatric drugs in the bodies of children and teenagers is well documented and needs no further elaboration.”

He wants the advisory committee to address two issues: (1) the validity of ADD/ADHD as diseases; and (2) effective alternative behavioral treatments that reduce reliance on drugs.

Dr Stein’s behavioral/cognitive treatment methods have won awards from the American Psychological Association (One of top ten research projects at the 1998), the International Center for Psychiatry and Psychology (2005), and the Ritalin Litigation Conference (2001).

“It is my hope,” he says, “that the committee will consider that within the decision tree, the physician's choice to use drugs can be lowered in favor of, at the very least, recommending properly designed behavioral parent training.”

“The risks of legal liability and the risks of medical damage to children,” Dr Stein advises, “can be reduced with the augmentation and further development of proper behavioral treatments.”

According to court certified expert and author of many books on ADHD, Dr Peter Breggin, all stimulants commonly cause “a continuum of stimulation, including agitation and irritability, anger, hostility, disinhibition, hypomania and mania.”

The stimulant or activation syndrome, he advises, was originally observed decades ago with stimulant drugs such as amphetamines, Adderall, and Dexedrine, and methylphenidates such as Ritalin and Concerta.

It also occurs, he notes, with dexmethylphenidate such as Focalin, and selegilines like Sparlon and Provigil, as well as the atomoxetine, Strattera.

In a review of the summary data for the FDA Spontaneous Reporting System through March 1997, Dr Breggin counted the following: Psychosis, 43; hallucinations, 44; and psychotic depression, 11. His review also counted more than 50 reports in the combined category of overdose, overdose intentional, and suicide attempt.

“In regard to both amphetamines and methylphenidate,” he explains, “there are a surprising number of animal and human studies showing persistent biochemical changes and atrophy after several weeks or more exposure.”

“While the changes in children are sometimes mistakenly attributed to ADHD or OCD, they are a known effect of stimulants on the animal brain,” he advises. “A known toxic drug effect is a far more likely culprit than a highly speculative "biochemical imbalance" in these children,” he adds.

Dr Breggin will also testify at the advisory committee hearing on behalf of the International Center for Psychiatry and Psychology, and will recommend that labels for stimulant drugs include the following neuropsychiatric warnings:

(1) A warning concerning depressive/OCD ADRs that includes depression, apathy, lethargy, listlessness, tiredness, sadness, crying, withdrawal, and social isolation as well as worrying, ruminating, over-focusing, and other obsessive-compulsive behaviors.

(2) A warning concerning stimulation or activation ADRs that includes insomnia, anxiety, agitation, panic attacks, irritability, hostility, aggressiveness, violence, impulsivity, disinhibition, hypomania, and mania.

(3) Strengthened warning concerning psychosis, paranoid ideation and hallucinations.

(4) Strengthened warning about rebound, dependence and abuse, especially for methylphenidate products (all current methylphenidate labels especially inadequate).

(5) A specific warning that the combination of depressive, obsessive-compulsive and stimulant ADRs poses a serious risk of dyscontrol or disinhibition with suicidal and/or violent behavior.

(6) A warning in the labels for amphetamine and methylphenidate products about persistent brain dysfunction and atrophy.

Information released by the FDA last month showed that between 1999 and 2003, seventy-eight million prescriptions were written for ADHD drugs in children ages 1 to 18, and more than 14 million prescriptions were written for adults.

During last month’s hearings, Safety Drug committee member, Dr Steve Nissen, said he is certain the public is not aware of the risks. "If the current warnings were adequate we wouldn't have 2.5 million children and 1.5 million adults taking these drugs.”

Evelyn Pringle

(Evelyn Pringle is a columnist for Independent Media TV and an investigative journalist focused on exposing corruption in government)

Monday, March 20, 2006

Psychiatrist Goes Down For Sexual Assault

Friday, March 17, 2006
Dr. Rafael Mercado Combalecer, 64, member of the American Pedophiliac Association.. whoops, American Psychiatric Association, has been jailed for six months for sexual assault. The victim had already been molested as a child by another psychiatrist.

The victim was also the unwilling recipient of several sexually graphic letters from Combalecer.

The Psychiatrist, who had his medical license suspended by the state last month, was employed by the department of mental health.

Fourteenth Circuit Judge James M. Graves Jr. also ordered Combalecer to spend 18 months on probation, register as a sex offender and pay $420 in fines and costs, plus $10 per month probation oversight fees.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Psychiatrist Receives a Taste of His Own Medicine

Famous California psychiatrist Louis Gottschalk has been ordered by a court to cease sending money to a Nigerican scam artist.

The psychiatrist, who works (still?) at the University of California medical centre that bears his name, had wired over $3,000,000 to the scammer over a ten year period utterly convinced that he would eventually receive a vast sum of money for his efforts.

True to his profession he was unable to separate reality from fantasy.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Psychiatric Delusions

A quote from Psychiatrist Seymour Rosenblatt in 1981 talking about the drug taking evolution that was taking place and predicting its future.

"Consider some of the possibilities currently being promoted by serious scientists: In the next twenty years, it has been conjectured, we will be able to control people's feelings and emotions. Madness will go the way of smallpox, and mental institutions will become as rare as monasteries. Everyone will be able to get a night's sleep. Senility will be arrested by a pill or injection. Our memories will be extended beyond their present capacities, and both drug addiction and alcoholism will become things of the past.

Sex offenders will be controlled by medication. Our system of penology will be in the purview of chemistry. Steel bars will be replaced by pharmacological agents, leaving criminals to roam free but restricted from harming people.

We will have jamais vu [never seen] drugs that create feelings of novelty and déjà vu [already seen] drugs to breed familiarity. Both boredom and anxiety will be alleviated, and our sex lives will be enhanced and intensified.

Blood cells will be harnessed to become the psychiatrist's allies. They will become like beasts of burden, hauling drugs throughout our bodies. There will be no side-effects, no nausea, no liver damage.

Finally we shall emerge into a drug-free society in which genetic engineering precludes mental illness. The substances produced by our biochemists will exactly match those endowed to us by nature."

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Psychiatrist Pervert in Ireland

The Sunday Times March 12, 2006
Banned doctor working in Dublin
Kate Butler and Dearbhail McDonald

A DISGRACED psychiatrist banned from working in Britain is now operating a part-time private practice from a Dublin hotel.
John Harding Price, 74, was struck off the medical register in Britain five years ago after three female patients made allegations of sexual misconduct against him. Unable to practise in Britain, he moved to Ireland and worked as a locum doctor in psychiatric hospitals in Clonmel and Kilkenny.

The doctor has been investigated by the Irish Medical Council, the regulatory body for doctors, following a complaint by an Irish patient. A teenager from the southeast — an anorexia sufferer who was sexually abused as a child — complained that she had been abused by the British doctor. The council held that Harding Price was fit to practise, allowing him to continue to treat patients in Ireland.

Last week The Sunday Times tracked him down to Dublin’s Portobello hotel where he was making arrangements to meet patients. “I come over when I’m asked to see somebody,” said Harding Price, who claimed he is being given referrals by Irish doctors. “I’m old enough now that I’m not going to sell up home and travel around setting up camp. My wife and I find Ireland civilised and pleasant.”

Harding Price’s arrangements have alarmed mental health campaigners. “People are appalled that he’s allowed come here having been struck off by the General Medical Council (GMC),” said John McGuinness, a Kilkenny TD. “Some families are quite disturbed that he’s back in Ireland. He is still in contact with them in a way that’s unacceptable to them — he’s quite sinister and mischievous in that way.”

The Irish Medical Council has been criticised for allowing Harding Price to practise in Ireland, but it says its hands are tied. Three years ago the Supreme Court ruled that doctors struck off in another country are free to practise in Ireland unless the council holds its own inquiry. The court ruled that the absence of oral testimony from complainants deprives a doctor of a fair hearing.

The GMC is allowed to use fitness-to-practise judgments in other countries to prevent a doctor from practising in Britain. The Irish Medical Council found Harding Price guilty of misconduct last year, but only for a breach of confidentiality.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Fathead Theory

Psychiatrists, obsessed with trying to prove that the mind is in fact the merely the bodily organ known as the brain, have now come up with the theory that brain fat can be the cause of risky behaviour.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Antidepressants Still Being Used to Chemically Cosh Children in the U.K.

In 2003 the U.K. governments medicine watchdog investigated the use of antidepressants on children. The result was that they restricted the use of the drugs because they caused mood swings and increased the risk of suicide.

Three years later a survey by the medical magazine ‘Pulse’ found that four out of five GPs claim that they are not meeting the guidelines from the National Institute of Clinical Excellence, which recommends advice on diet and exercise and counselling as a first line of treatment for mild to moderate depression. More than half - 58 per cent - are instead still handing out antidepressants.

Although the Royal College of GPs has signed up to guidance from the MHRA and Nice, the guidance is not legally binding. GPs are still free to use their discretion when prescribing and the survey reveals that many are doing so.

Latest official figures show that almost 7,000 prescriptions for Seroxat and 10,000 for other SSRIs were issued to under-18s in 2004-5. An increasing number of children are on Prozac.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Business More Important Than Health at the FDA

Despite a unanimous recommendation by FDA scientific staff not to approve an implanted device used to treat depression.

Dr. Daniel G. Schultz, director of the Center for Devices and Radiological Health at the agency, kept its application moving up the ladder and eventually decided to approve it.

No Effect On Depression

The device in question is a surgically implanted vagus nerve stimulator produced by Cyberonics Inc. In its one and only clinical trial, it had no apparent effect on depression. This caused FDA scientists to repeatedly recommend rejecting it.

"Safe and Effective"?

Susan Bro, an FDA spokeswoman, claimed that the device had been approved because of the seriousness of persistent depression. Cyberonics argues that the device is the only "safe and effective" option for chronic, treatment-resistant depression.

The vagus nerve stimulator is surgically implanted in the upper chest, and stimulates a nerve leading to the brain. Side effects can include:

Voice alteration
Shortness of breath
Neck pain
Difficulty swallowing
Heart problems
Vocal cord paralysis
Reviewers Bewildered

Internal correspondence within the FDA show that reviewers were bewildered by Dr. Schultz's continuing support for the device after the complete failure of its clinical trial.

Houston Chronicle February 18, 2006

Spartanburg Herald-Journal February 17, 2006

Thursday, March 09, 2006

The drugs don't work

08 March 2006 10:19

A man who has suffered from depression for more than 20 years today hit out at the mental health system, saying that it does not treat patients like him properly and relies too heavily on prescribing drugs.

Jeremy Crisp, 48, of St Benedict's Street, Norwich, said he felt that there were too many prescription drugs being given to mentally ill patients and not enough time spent listening to their problems.

His views echo those of Norwich's Director of Public Health Dr Peter Brambleby who last month called for GPs to get patients off anti-depressants and seek other ways of treating the illness. An Evening News investigation revealed nearly £34 million had been spent on prescribing anti-depressants in Norfolk since 2000.

Mr Crisp said in January 1991 he was admitted to the Yare Clinic with manic depression. He was put on the neuroleptic tranquilisier Modecate. He left in March and in May tried to jump off the Malthouse car park on the former Nestle site in Norwich. He survived with multiple fractures after being taken to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

He said that the Modecate “directly contributed” to his deciding there was no alternative but to end his own life.

Mr Crisp, who is unemployed, has suffered from manic depression since the age of 24, which he says started as a result of smoking cannabis. He has been in and out of Hellesdon Hospital ever since and was last an inpatient there in 2003. But he said the tradition of psychiatrists examining the patient with detachment did not work.

“The profession of psychiatry is at fault. There is a mistaken view that it is about distancing and not getting involved. It's not about talking to patients or finding out why they are suffering. “

Ruth Taylor, who manages Mind Body Soul in Ber Street, said: “Psychiatry is just a plaster over the wound. It does not deal with the underlying problem.”

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Antidepressants linked to childhood suicide

Antidepressants linked to childhood suicide
Tuesday, 07 Mar 2006 05:09

Antidepressant use raises the likelihood of suicidal thoughts in children, according to a new article.

Scientists from the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today published a detailed account of the conclusions they reached on use of antidepressants in children in 2004.

The article, published in the Archives of General Psychiatry journal, is the first detailed public discussion of the findings. The FDA is the body that regulates medicines in the United States.

Director of the agency's division of psychiatry products, Thomas Laughren, analysed the data of 24 clinical trials involving antidepressants and children.

He concluded that antidepressants are linked to a "modest" increase in the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviour in children.

The 24 studies included 4,582 paediatric patients taking one of nine antidepressant medications for depression, anxiety or other psychiatric disorder.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Coercive Psychiatry Must Stop-Libertarianz

Coercive Psychiatry Must Stop, Says Libz
Monday, 6 March 2006, 12:47 pm
Press Release: Libertarianz Party
Health Deregulation
Coercive Psychiatry Must Stop, Says Libz

Libertarianz spokesman Dr Richard McGrath says compulsory psychiatric treatment using drugs, electric shock and incarceration is a barbaric violation of human rights that should be stopped forthwith. Reacting to comments attributed to the Mental Health Commission, he said that people previously labelled as mentally ill have the same rights and responsibilities as everybody else.

“Compulsory psychiatric treatment has been used for decades to remove difficult individuals from society, when often these people have not in fact harmed anyone else,” said Dr McGrath. “Historically these people have been forcibly administered drugs, given shock treatment and locked away in psychiatric gulags.”

Dr McGrath says there is no situation which justifies the state using force to medically treat people whose behaviour merely disturbs others. “The Mental Health Act should be repealed, so that treatment for emotional and behavioural problems becomes a matter of voluntary choice.”

Libertarianz would fully privatize the health system, including the practice of psychiatry, and remove the insanity defence from criminal trials. People with behavioural issues would be expected to compensate others for acts of violence and property damage and would be handled through the justice system.

Dr McGrath added that the medical model of mental illness is still controversial and largely unproven.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Psychiatrist Scammed

Like most people I suspect I had wondered for years what sort of person could be so gullible, greedy and dumb as to part with money to the Nigerian email scammers. Now I know.

The son of renowned psychiatrist Dr. Louis Gottschalk from the Uni. of California has filed a lawsuit asking the judge to remove his father as administrator of the family's fortune as he has lost up to $US3 million over ten years in a Nigerian internet scam.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Personal Testimony of Psychiatric Victim

Hello everyone, my name is Sue Clark and I am from Ottawa, Ontario and I would have liked to have been at the Inquiry into Psychiatry, the Historic Public Hearings in Toronto but due to health problems I was unable to attend.

I was tortured by psychiatry for l8 years of my life from 1972 to 1990. I was hospitalized 20 times, and in 5 different hospitals. I was given 7 different psychiatric labels/diagnoses, and given heavy doses of all the major tranquilizers and all various forms of antidepressants, and given 5 electroshock treatments and given behaviour modification.

Since 1990, I have been off psychiatric drugs/medications and I have had no hospital admissions to a psychiatric ward. I have had no relapses since that time.

I am now an antipsychiatry activist who is fighting to end electroshock therapy all over the world. I was hired for two years in the 1990s by the Royal Ottawa Hospital in their consumer as expert program and I was hired because of my antipsychiatry beliefs. Marion Crow was my boss. I have advocated for my peers in hospitals, at court, and at social services. I am writing a book this year about my experiences with the mental health system. I am the Chair of the Mindfreedom Committee to End Electroshock.

I was a psychiatric inmate at the Royal Ottawa Hospital, the Monfort Hospital, the Queensway Hospital, the Ottawa General Hospital, all hospitals in Ottawa, and also I was at Brockville Psychiatric Hospital in Ontario.

At the age of l7 years old, I ran away from my upper middle class home in Ottawa. My father was the director of a translation section in an Ottawa federal department and had a high paying salary and my mother was a housewife. I wanted for nothing material wise, I had the best of food, clothes, yearly vacations, and lived in a big house that Paul Anka used to live in at 87 Clearview Ave in Ottawa. I was not given any love nor any respect by my parents who violated my physical and psychological boundaries continually during my childhood. I was a very frightened and nervous child in my home. I had no one to run to for help or so I thought. My childhood experiences continue to haunt me to this day.

My mother and father tortured my brother Chris and I - physically and emotionally. I was tortured by my parents for l7 years of my life. My Uncle Lyman sexually abused me at the age of 4 years old. My father was a wife beater and so was his father. My father's brother Gerry molested his two daughters for years. My father would yell at me and call me names and kick me and grab me and punch me.

My mother would strangle me, throw me down a flight of stairs, beat me on the arms and legs, throw things at me, jump on me when I was sleeping and twist my arms and legs, throw me into doors and walls, slap me across the face, call me names and yell and scream at me. My mother beat all the animals we had. She put my cousin Marcel's head in a toilet bowl for soiling his pants, and beat my cousin Robin for returning home with an umbrella she gave Robin to use but it got broken at school.

I grew up in a home where on the outside everything looked perfect but on the inside it was chaotic and it was a very violent and unsafe environment to live in.

My brother and I hid the abuse we suffered at home from most family members and friends and from school. My mother threatened us should we ever tell anyone of the abuse happening at home. My father and mother did not use alcohol nor drugs but their behaviour was out of control. Some family members knew of the abuse that was happening to my brother and I but kept silent and turned a blind eye to the abuse. In the 1970s, child abuse was a taboo subject and rarely spoken about. These days child abuse is covered in the media and it is not a taboo subject anymore.

At the age of l7 years old with no money in my pocket and not knowing about any community resources, I ran away from home in February of 1972. I called a high school friend and she let me stay at her home with her brother while her parents were away in Florida. After about a month while staying at my friend's house in Ottawa, her parents called to say they were coming home from Florida and they did not know I was staying at their house. My friend told me I had to go. I was homeless and had no one to turn to. I was all alone with no one to help me.

I was a wounded soul looking for help to ease my emotional pain of having been abused for l7 years by my parents.

The school psychologist at my high school called me into the office. She asked me why I was missing so much school and I told her about the abuse at home. She suggested I go to the Royal Ottawa Hospital on Carling Ave and someone could talk to me and I could get some help. So I agreed, not knowing what the Royal Ottawa Hospital was all about.

I walked into the psychiatric industry for l8 years as I made my first step into the Royal Ottawa Hospital in March of 1972. A psychiatrist and a nurse were waiting to speak to me in the Emergency section of the hospital. I told them the whole history of my family and the abuse I suffered at home. They suggested since my nerves were bad I should stay for a few days at the hospital and they would help me. I had no money, and no one to turn to. I did not know about welfare, legal aid, food banks or emergency shelters and never asked as I did not know about these services, and whether they existed at all in 1972 in Ottawa.

I was admitted to the Whitney 4 ward of the Royal Ottawa Hospital. I was 125 pounds at the time of my admission to the hospital. Right away I was given heavy doses of tranquilizers whereby I had no co-ordination as I walked down the hallway and had to cling onto the walls to walk, my vision was blurry from the psychiatric medication and I had a dry mouth and I slept for 20 hours a day. I got up to eat meals and to talk to my visitors. Often they had to wake me up as I was sleeping.

While in the hospital, I signed papers that I was told "don't worry about what you are signing". My vision was blurry and I did not know what type of papers I was signing - probably drug study forms.

I gained 30 pounds in the three months I was there. I developed an eating disorder on the ward that continues to this day as when the snacks came by I would grab the cakes and cookies and used food to make me feel better because I was locked up and could not get out. I used food as a coping tool. I am seeing a therapist these days to deal with my overeating disorder.

I left after three months and went to live (with) my abusers, my parents as I had no where to go. Living with my family got me depressed so I was admitted to the Royal Ottawa again. This happened three times and until February of the next year whereby I was threatened with "going to Brockville Psychiatric Hospital" if you do not get better.

On the Whitney Ward, I was on a locked ward and could not understand why I was being locked up, what did I do to deserve being locked up? I had bad nerves from having been abused severely for l7 years by my parents. I had to line up for my medications like a herd of sheep. I got angry and I told the staff what I thought. I was vocal, and loud. I was protesting the way I was being treated. I was treated like a child, talked down to, not believed, had my freedom stripped away from me.

I would bang on my locker in my hospital bedroom whereby four orderlies would come down the hallway and I would run away for dear life and they would corner me and then drag me to my bedroom, and flip me onto my stomach onto my bed. A nurse with a long needle was standing there waiting to inject me with sedatives to knock me out for quiet a while. This was called a "chemical restraint". I was not a compliant patient, I was a shit disturber on the ward. I told the staff what I thought of them and it was not nice language. I got many "chemical restraints" at the Royal Ottawa Hospital. Shortly after trying to hang myself in my room at the Royal Ottawa
Hospital in March of 1973 on the Whitney 4 ward. I was transferred by ambulance to Ward H of the Brockville Psychiatric Hospital in Ontario, 60 miles from Ottawa. This huge complex was near a main highway.

On Ward H another locked ward, I was again given heavy doses of psychiatric medications, had my dignity and freedom stripped away from me. Where were my human rights? I was never told about a patient rights advisor, or legal aid. The Royal Ottawa Hospital never told me about my rights either.

After being at Brockville Psychiatric Hospital for three months, Dr. Louis Sipos told me he was going to give me electroshock therapy. I asked Dr. Sipos what that was. He told me they would put electricity through my brain. I was frightened as he told me that and I answered Dr. Louis "hey, if you put electricity through my brain, it will fry my brain like an egg and scramble it". Dr. Louis said electroshock therapy was safe, and I protested with him and said I did not want electroshock. He told me he was going to give me ECT and that was that.

So on the morning of my electroshock therapy, apparently a peer of my ward told me many years later as I forgot this part in my memory, as the staff tried to bring me down the hallway to the electroshock room, I yelled and screamed as loud as I could, I bit the staff and kicked them as I did not want to go to the ECT room. I yelled for someone to help me and not let me go into the ECT room, but no one came to my rescue, no one helped me.

Eventually the staff forced me into the ECT room. This I do remember, however. The room had white walls and next to the bed there was steel box with wires coming out of it. I was told to lay on my back while a nurse gave me a needle in my arm. I was looking around the room and wanted out, I wanted to escape. I yelled to the staff I did not want ECT. No one listened to me. I was frightened as I looked around the room and at the staff. It was a traumatizing experience for me that still haunts me to this day. A rubber band was wrapped around my
forehead and a rubber mallet put between my teeth. Then the psychiatrist turned on the shock machine and zapped me with electricity through my brain.

I woke up afterwards after being given the ECT against my will. I was put into a wheelchair and did not know who I was, where I was and what I was doing in a hospital. That lasted for about a day. Eventually I remembered where I was and who I was. I was angry that I was tortured by the electroshock and by the doctor and staff and no one came to my aid.

On my 5th electroshock, my heart stopped and I was revived. I received no more electroshocks after that. About 2 months later I was released from the hospital and sent back to Ottawa and a social worker drove me to a group home in Ottawa for women who just got out of psychiatric hospitals which was located near Sussex Ave.

Since the time I had electroshock which was 33 years ago, I have problems with permanent memory loss, problems with concentrating and learning anything new. This has impeded my life significantly. I have a difficult time to remember anything from hour to hour let alone from day to day. I forget to mark things down in my date book and I have forgotten appointments, meetings, trips, conferences, and the list goes on. People come to me to this day and say "do you remember me" and I don't know who they are. I can't remember some of my neighbours names who I see on a daily basis. Sometimes I can't even remember my friends' names.

I can't remember from day to day, week to week, month to month or from year to year so my brother and my boyfriend often recall the memories from my past for me. They tell me what happened during that time and as the years have gone by.

You can't get a job if you can't remember anything, you can't go to school to get a good education if you can't remember anything. You have to be able to remember to do everything in life. Marking things down doesn't help me much as I forget where I wrote the things down I have to remember.

Electroshock therapy, ECT, electroconvulsive therapy, electrotherapy, and all the names that are used to describe it must be banned, it must be stopped.

ECT is brutal, unethical, torture, and it is a crime against humanity. l4,000 ECTs are given to people in Ontario yearly. 70% of ECT is given to women and out of that percentage more than half of electroshock is routinely given to elderly women, a form of elder abuse.

100,000 Americans get ECT yearly in the USA. Since ECT was introduced in the USA in 1940, it is estimated that 6 million Americans have had ECT, and it is estimated that 1 to 2 million people a year get ECT yearly worldwide.

ECT is unethical because there is no proper informed consent for ECT. ECT always causes brain damage Dr. Peter R. Breggin a psychiatrist from New York State states that. He has written several books one of which is called "Electroshock: Its Brain Disabling Effects. Dr. Breggin states that contemporary ECT has more electricity than before when it is given and it is more damaging.

ECT is a big money making machine. In the USA, ECT is a 3 billion dollar a year industry. In 2000, a Columbia University study found that ECT is so ineffective at ridding patients of their depression that nearly all of those who received it, relapsed within six months of having had the treatment.

Electroshock involves the searing of the brain with more volts of electricity than you will find in your house. Between 180 to 460 volts of electricity sends a current pulsing through the brain creating a grand mal seizure which is identical to an epileptic fit. The administering psychiatrist usually looks for the curling up or the twitching of the toes to determine if the shock has "worked". Without this sign, multiple shocks have been given until the desired effect is achieved. Today MMECT also known as multiple monitored ECT can induce up to 8
seizures in one treatment.

Slovenia is the world's first shock free zone in the world.

There have been numerous scientific studies done during the past 50 to 60 years that have proven the brain disabling effects of ECT. Yet, ECT is making a big comeback and why is that. ECT is quick and ECT brings in big dollars.

I deem ECT as torture.

I am the Chair of the Mindfreedom Committee to End Electroshock which is part of Mindfreedom International which is comprised of over 100 sponsor groups and well as individuals as members who are all fighting psychiatric oppression.

On July 28, 2001 the Board of Directors of Mindfreedom International wrote the "Resolution Against Electroshock - A Crime Against Humanity" which states:

1. Electroshock always causes brain damage.

2. Electroshock always causes permanent memory loss.

3. Electroshock always causes learning disabilities and other
intellectual impairments.

4. Electroshock often causes fear or terror in patients

5. Even by conventional psychiatric standards, electroshock has an
extremely high relapse rate - over 70% within one year

6. Electroshock does not significantly relieve depression or prevent
suicide. In fact several research studies indicate that electroshock
can aggravate or trigger depression and suicide attempts: the Nobel
Prize winning author Ernest Hemingway killed himself shortly after
undergoing a second series of electroshocks.

7. Psychiatrists frequently violate the ethical-legal principle of
informed consent when prescribing/ordering electroshock. Subjects are
not informed or are misinformed about the procedure's harmful effects,
nor are they informed about non-injurious, non-medical approaches such
as counselling (including peer counselling, self help groups, and life
style changes)

8. Electroshock discriminates against highly vulnerable people. Its
chief targets are women and the elderly. Children are also being
subjected to electroshock in growing numbers. In the United States and
Canada, 70% of electroshock is administered to women and upwards of
half of those undergoing electroshock are 60 years of age and older.

9. Electroshock machines have never been independently inspected or
approved for their medical safety. Since 1978, the Food and Drug
Administration of the United States government has officially placed
shock machines in its most dangerous medical device category "class
III" hazardous and unsafe.

10. Electroshock has caused many deaths. Such deaths are routinely
minimized or underreported in the medical psychiatric literature.
Rarely are psychiatrists or electroshock facilities requested to report
electroshock caused deaths or any information concerning the use of
electroshock to governmental regulatory bodies.

I want the Ontario Ministry of Health to put a moratorium on the use of electroshock therapy in Ontario and have a public inquiry into the use of electroshock therapy.

I want all other provincial ministries of health to do the same in Canada.

Remember Jean-Yves Barrette, one of my friend's brother who went into a coma after having had his 5th electroshock. He was 42 years old and had a wife and a teenage son. Jean Yves never recovered from his coma and died 7 years later in an Ottawa long term care facility. I visited Jean Yves while he was in a coma. It was a frightening sight to see a man who was in his prime of life and to see him curled up in his bed in a coma. Jean Yves suffered greatly and it was caused by ECT. That could have been me and it could have been you or someone you know.

Electroshock is barbaric, cruel and torture. It traumatizes me to this day thinking of when I was in the ECT room and with all the nurses and the psychiatrist dressed in white with white walls surrounding them and I was laying on a stretcher with white sheets next to a little steel box full of wires and electricity ready to be used on me.

Electroshock must be stopped today and no one should have to go through what I did. This is my personal true story of what happened to me in my family, and in psychiatric hospitals.

I speak out in the name of social justice for you all listening today to help me and others to end the torture of electroshock worldwide.

We all need to work together and make Canada the number 2 country in the world to be a shock free zone. Slovenia is the world's first shock free zone in the world today. We need to organize, write to our members of parliament, and our provincial members of parliament and tell them electroshock is torture and put a moratorium on electroshock today.

Please write letters to your newspapers, and tell your family and friends my story. This story will be posted on my website at: or you can email me at: and I will send you my story.

I would like to thank all the psychiatric survivors who like me continue to speak out about the atrocities of electroshock and the psychiatric survivor groups in Canada and the USA and all over the world who work so hard everyday to pass out the message to the world - electroshock is barbaric and brutal and it must be stopped. Please remember those who had ECT and died. We must not forget them.

I would also like to thank Don Weitz who is one of my mentors and who has given me support and guidance for over 20 years now and for his work for over 30 years exposing electroshock therapy. I would also like to thank Bonnie Burstow for her work in speaking out against electroshock too.

Thank you for listening to my electroshock personal story today.

The truth shall prevail.

Sue Clark, Chair
Mindfreedom Committee To End Electroshock
Telephone: (613) 721-l833
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

"Electroshock is a crime against humanity"