Harold Sackeim Mecta deposition video clips

Here are a number of clips from the videotaped deposition of Harold Sackeim (2004). Sackeim was the expert witness for Mecta in a lawsuit in California.

You can read most of the deposition here, in PDF format.

I’m splitting the videos into two pages to reduce your load. If the page loads slowly, or the videos don’t load, try again in thirty minutes…it’s likely YouTube is down.

Richard Abrams is defensive, says Harold Sackeim

Harold Sackeim, king of ECT, discusses his complaints about Richard Abrams, president of Somatics, Inc., saying that Abrams is defensive because of the “fascist” groups, and goes too far with his defensiveness by ignoring the “problems” inherent with ECT. Meow!

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Harold Sackeim tells NY Assemblyman Rivera he “discarded” requests

After making a public offer to evaluate individuals with damage after ECT, Sackeim explains that he told the NY Assemblyman Peter Rivera (D-Bronx) he discarded the responses. They “spent the day” together. How cozy. Rivera is head of the New York Committee on Mental Health. Harold has more than one cozy relationship, and it’s paid off in a big way for him.

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Killroy was here

An endorsement? No, but Harold admits he’s been here. Everyone, please, a warm welcome to the Lord of the Dance, Harold Sackeim.

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He’s said it, very clearly

Very emphatically: “I don’t dispute that there are some people who have very severe memory loss. I’ve been the one who’s been saying that very clearly.”

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2 million people?

“Uh, what I do know is that probably about 2 million people are receive ECT each year…” When questioned by the attorney asking if he “knows” that, Harold backpedals and says he said “estimate.” A few years ago he told Extra it was a million. I guess that Cyberonics VNS device isn’t working out so well.

Perhaps saying “I do know” and then claiming he said “estimate” is being a tad picky. But consider that this seems to be a habit with him: reinventing himself, parading himself as the champion of the shock patient by criticizing “Dick” Abrams, and claiming he’s a purist scientist, even when he admits statistics were not genuine statistics as claimed, but merely a guesstimate. Since the long-held guess of how many Americans receive ECT annually is 100,000 to 200,000 (usually quoted as 100,000 in the media), where on earth did he get this 2 million figure for the world?

Oh, it’s an estimate. He made it up.

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Follow the money…

Here’s something he can’t make up, because there’s a paper trail. He billed Mecta for $10,875 for pretrial consulting. And that was *before* the trial, or even this deposition, took place. No telling what the final bill will be! His rate is $500 an hour to help Mecta defend against a lawsuit. Notice how he refuses to say the amount, instead, referring to the “rate that’s there.” For whatever reason, Harold Sackeim cannot say the words “I charge $500 an hour.”

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Part 2 of the video deposition

Harold Sackeim Mecta deposition video clips, page 2

The Awakening

This clip is an interesting explanation of why psychiatrists have apparently been unaware for 70 years that ECT can and does cause profound memory loss and cognitive damage. The reason? Because until a few years ago, the only persons who complained of severe memory loss also said it didn’t help them. It took finding some patients who experienced devastating memory loss who would also proclaim it “saved their life” before Harold Sackeim would listen.

Hey, I’m not the one who said it…Harold is. He’s the champion of the shock patient, at least in his own head. Maybe he needs to revisit the early years of Sackeimology, when his research revolved around self deception, the lies we tell ourselves.

Harold (call him doctor, damn you!) relates an interesting story, if true. He’s been known to make up statistics and a vignette or two. And he questioned whether or not the individuals on ect.org were really ECT patients. That’s called projection, Harold. Or deflection. You should have learned these terms when you studied Sackeimology.

The story takes place at an ECT donut course. (Shock docs and donuts are like cops and donuts.) One of the “very famous people” (that could really only be Abrams, Fink or Kellner, probably the Finkster) announced that profound memory loss just doesn’t happen. But our hero Harold asked the audience – all shock docs – if they’d encountered it. Two-thirds raised their hands. Oops. 70 years of denial down the drain.

It was almost a watershed moment, he says. The only thing missing was the heavens opening and the Angel Gabriel trumpeting the good news: Harold Sackeim is GOD, everyone. He’s your savior.

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FDA and ECT devices

This is the well-known story of how the FDA has been lobbied by the industry to change ECT devices from Class III to Class II. What’s interesting (and keeps popping up in Harold’s testimony) is that apparently the psych rights movement is having an impact on things. Despite his admitting that he speaks with the FDA regularly, and that the industry has lobbied the FDA for the change, Harold says the FDA is afraid to make a move.

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“I DO consider it.”

When asked if he discounts the many personal accounts of memory loss post-ECT, he responds that he does consider it.

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Electrical parameters

Harold discusses the parameters of ECT, cognitive side effects and Mecta machines.

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What they knew, when they knew

Is it necessary to inform patients of the risk of permanent, severe memory loss? Harold says it’s not in dispute…of course you tell them, and he always does. At least in the last three or four years…once they discovered it really happens. Before then, well, they kinda knew, but they just had no scientific evidence that it did, and the wrong kinds of people had been talking about it. So it’s not their fault because they didn’t know. They just didn’t know. Until a few years ago.

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Sackeim: “I got the field to do that”

Harold says the APA Task Force Report now says that ECT can cause profound memory loss. ECT patients have only been saying that for…hmmm, nearly SEVENTY YEARS!

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Christian Hageseth in more trouble; was prescribing meds at online pharmacy

Parents sue online pharmacy, doctor:
MENLO PARK TEEN’S SUICIDE SHINES LIGHT ON SHADOWY MARKET

3/14/2006
San Jose Mercury News
Barbara Feder Ostrov

John McKay’s family may never know why he turned to the Internet to heal his psyche. But they believe that what he found there killed him.

Last summer, just after his freshman year at Stanford, the nationally known debate champ from Menlo-Atherton High School bought a generic version of Prozac from an Internet site believed to be based in Texas.

A Colorado doctor with a troubled past signed off on McKay’s request for the anti-depressant without seeing or talking to him. A pharmacy in Mississippi filled the prescription and mailed it to McKay’s Menlo Park home.

He never told his parents. Less than seven weeks later, on Aug. 2, McKay killed himself. He was 19.

Now, in what is believed to be one of the first lawsuits of its kind, McKay’s parents are suing the Internet site’s operators, the doctor and the pharmacy for wrongful death and negligence. They are not suing the drug’s manufacturer.

John’s suicide was “completely unexpected,” said David McKay, a professor of structural biology at Stanford University who is devastated by his son’s death. “There were no obvious signs of depression.

“I think John would still be alive if he hadn’t been able to get these pills. He didn’t realize the risks. They didn’t inform him of the risks. I’d like to see these people held responsible.”

The lawsuit, filed late last month in federal court in San Francisco, shines a rare light on the poorly regulated world of Internet pharmacies.

“Anyone that has a credit card and a computer can get controlled prescription drugs over the Internet,” said Richard D. Mulieri, a spokesman for the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University. “It’s much too easy.”

Mulieri says parents should monitor their children’s Internet use and check the family mail for suspicious packages. It is important to keep credit cards and documents with credit card numbers away from children, too, he said.

The pharmacy McKay used, USAnetRX.com, does not require a faxed or mailed prescription from a licensed physician, as many mainstream online pharmacies do.
In California, prescriptions must be written by a licensed California physician after a physical examination of the patient.

Instead, USAnetRX.com asked patients to submit an online questionnaire that would be reviewed by one of its physicians before dispensing the drug. The site offers painkillers, Viagra, herpes medications, anti-depressants, weight-loss drugs and antibiotics, all ordered “from the comfort of your own home . . . without the embarrassment of a doctor’s visit.”

McKay used a credit card to purchase 90 capsules of fluoxetine, the generic name for Prozac. He requested the drug for treatment of adult attention deficit disorder and “moderate” depression, according to the San Mateo County Coroner’s Office. In his online application, McKay said he had been prescribed the drug before and that he was not suicidal.

The Colorado doctor, psychiatrist Christian Hageseth III, took him at his word.
Hageseth told the Mercury News that while the suicide of any young person is a “tragedy,” he does not feel responsible for McKay’s death. “When somebody commits suicide usually there are many factors,” he said.

What the McKay family did not know — until its lawyers started investigating — was that the Colorado medical board had restricted Hageseth’s license because of an improper relationship with a patient. He was not allowed to prescribe medication when he signed off on McKay’s medication. Hageseth has since surrendered his license.
“This was the last possible thing I could do in medicine,” Hageseth admitted, noting that he is now “unemployed” and “very poor.”

Frank Gruich Jr., of the Mississippi-based Gruich Pharmacy Shoppe, which took Hageseth’s prescription and shipped the generic Prozac to McKay, said he had not seen the lawsuit. But he also said he did not feel responsible for the teen’s death.
The operators of USAnetRX.com could not be reached for comment.

By taking fluoxetine without medical monitoring, McKay was treading into potentially dangerous territory.

Prozac and similar anti-depressants have been linked to suicides in children and adults, although no study has conclusively proven a connection. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is reviewing whether anti-depressants cause suicidal thoughts and behavior.

Anti-depressants now carry the FDA’s strongest “black box” warning, which notes the link between anti-depressants and suicide in children and adolescents. The warning urges doctors to closely monitor their young patients on these drugs, particularly at the start of treatment.

It is unclear why McKay felt he needed an anti-depressant. His parents, who divorced in 2004, told investigators that McKay had not recently had any medical or psychological treatment.

“I think he had some issues he was fighting and he tried to fight them alone,” David McKay said, declining to elaborate. His mother, Sheila McKay, declined to be interviewed but told investigators that John may have had a diagnosis of obsessive-compulsive disorder, according to the coroner’s report.

An autopsy found that he died from a combination of carbon monoxide and alcohol poisoning. He also had fluoxetine in his system.

If his parents never saw it coming, neither did his friends.

McKay started the debate team at Menlo-Atherton as a freshman. By his senior year, he had rocketed to a kind of superstardom in the highly competitive world of high school debate, becoming the top-ranked high school debater in the nation in the 2003-2004 season.

His death rocked the debate community. Dozens of students he had coached and befriended wrote moving tributes to him on debate Web sites, describing his inclusive nature and prowess at poker. He was coaching a debate camp in Los Angeles and was between sessions when he took his life.

“His success in the debate world was so great, it was like being with your childhood hero,” said friend Byron Ruby, a 16-year-old Menlo-Atherton student. “He was funny, real cool, really nice. A lot of people still miss him.”

Ruby said he and another friend detected a change in McKay’s personality shortly before his suicide. McKay didn’t hide the fact that he was taking anti-depressants, but he didn’t tell Ruby where he got them, either.

“He was a poker player; he could hide as much as he wanted to,” Ruby said. “I can only see it now, in hindsight. He was acting weirdly. He went from being happy to sad, back and forth. I didn’t think you could even buy this stuff online.”

CIA, brainwashing and electroshock therapy

‘Monster’ Scot paid by CIA to brainwash patients

EAMONN O’NEILL October 19 2004

UK Herald

A MAVERICK Scottish doctor conducted inhuman experiments funded by the CIA using LSD and electro-shock therapy to brainwash unsuspecting patients, a documentary will reveal tonight.
Dr Ewen Cameron, from Bridge of Allan, Stirlingshire, believed he could wipe the mind clean of “bad” thoughts with a combination of electricity and a cocktail of powerful drugs.

His experiments in Canada in the 1950s were funded by the CIA, which wanted to see if his methods could be used to help agents withstand hypnotism and other brainwashing techniques.
By 1951, his research ex-panded to help find out how brainwashing a captured enemy spy might help “turn” him to become a double agent.

The first experiments were conducted on animals. Sometimes drugs such as LSD – then seen as a wonder drug – were used. Eventually, humans were targeted and more often than not the victims were unwitting participants in medical trials which lasted 25 years and cost American taxpayers £14m.

Dr Cameron died in 1967 during a climbing expedition, but his work left many hundreds of his “guinea pigs” with their memories almost completely wiped. The CIA programme did not come to light until 1977.

Now, five decades after treatment, many of his patients are still looking for compensation.
Gail Kastner, 70, a Canadian, was 19 when she was taken to the Allan Memorial Institute, a psychiatric unit near Montreal. After being subjected to shock treatment by Dr Cameron, she regressed to her childhood and began behaving like a baby.

Speaking on BBC Scotland’s Frontline programme tonight, Ms Kastner is scathing of Dr Cameron: “He used and abused his power horribly, and I hope he met a very bad ending and suffered, as he made other victims suffer knowingly.”

Still with no memory of her life before the age of 19 and badly affected by her ordeal, she said: “I have nightly nightmares where I wake up screaming.”

It was later shown that Ms Kastner had received electroconvulsive therapy from Dr Cameron at levels which had been previously administered only in laboratory experiments on dogs, which later had to be put down.

Dr Cameron qualified at Glasgow University in 1924, and was seen as one of the world’s leading psychiatrists when he began his controversial work and went on to become first president of the World Psychiatric Association.

In his drive to find a cure for mental illness, he used techniques developed by Nazi scientists in the second world war.

While some studies were legitimate, many were secret tests of interest only to the CIA, whose funding of Dr Cameron and use of the results of his experiments did not emerge for decades.

What the intelligence agency paid for were tests carried out on patients unaware that they were part of a CIA study, or that the results were being evaluated for secret military defence purposes.

Dr Cameron never acknowledged that he had broken the golden rule of medical experiments on humans – informed consent.

During the Nuremberg trials, this was the very point which convicted Josef Mengele, the Nazi doctor dubbed the Angel of Death, and others who subjected innocents to appalling medical procedures.
Many victims tracked down by Frontline refused to participate in the documentary because they were too ill. The family of one victim said “he has become like a hermit. He has trouble remembering anything”.

He was one of 77 victims who, in the mid-1990s, were paid just £55,000 in compensation by the CIA and the Canadian government – who, it was shown, were also complicit in the medical trials.

Ms Kastner, who only had her compensation claim settled this year, said of the mild-mannered doctor who destroyed her life – and that of countless others – in the name of science and military advancement: “He was a monster.”

WINNER: Gorham and Robin Nicol – How to get in the shock machine business

HOW TO GET INTO THE SHOCK MACHINE BUSINESS:

The true story of Gorham and Robin Nicol!

by Linda Andre

Note: The following may seem incredible, but it comes straight from the horses’ ass—er, mouth. It is based on the testimony of Gorham Nicol at the trial of his shock machine company Mecta in October 2005. All quotes are from the court transcript.

nicol.jpgWith all the media coverage on the “comeback of ECT” over the past thirty years, you’ve probably been wondering how you can get a little piece of the action. You may have thought about starting your very own shock machine company, but didn’t know how. Perhaps you thought you didn’t qualify to run a medical device company because you didn’t have any medical degrees or scientific background, or any training whatsoever that would qualify you to manufacture devices. Maybe you were afraid of those pesky FDA regulations, thinking the government would hold you responsible for proving your device safe, and then where would you be with no money or staff to conduct scientific safety studies? Maybe you were afraid you just didn’t know enough about shock or shock machines to be making them.

So here you are, reading this page instead of making millions on shock machines. Well, let the story of Gorham and Robin Nicol, husband-and-wife owners and sole directors of the Mecta shock machine company, be an inspiration to you. They didn’t have any experience or knowledge about shock, or any particular interest, or even any money of their own to invest, but did they let that hold them back? No way!

Robin’s only got a degree in English, and Gorham is an MBA. As Gorham tells the story, they didn’t really plan to buy a shock machine company. It just sort of happened. He walked into a building one day looking to buy another company that he’d heard was a good investment, and it just happened to be the same building that housed the Mecta Corporation. Mecta was having a kind of fire sale at the time, going out of business due to bankruptcy. Gorham didn’t even know what a shock machine was, but ever the alert businessman, he sniffed an opportunity. He asked his close friend, shock doctor Barry Maletzsky, if a shock machine company would be a good investment. (Barry Maletzsky achieved notoriety in the late 1970s by inventing “multiple-monitored ECT”, a technique in which more two are more seizures are induced at one time. The Mecta device was invented specifically for this purpose. Even the APA now says this technique is “not recommended”. Even Richard Abrams—see him in the Hall of Shame—doesn’t like it.) According to Gorham, Maletzky “told us what a fantastic piece of equipment this would be if it were made available on the market, and we went with that…He said that it was an outstanding, leading-edge product and that he thought it would be a good investment for us…My father-in-law put up the money and we bought it.”

That was all. The Nicols didn’t know anything about ECT and weren’t interested in learning. It was just another investment for them, just like their other company Easybar, which manufacturers drink-dispensing equipment for bars and restaurants. Shock machines, soda machines; electricity, beverages, what’s the difference? You just buy the company, pay people to make the things, and sit back and rake in the profits. They’d inherited engineers when they bought the company, so they didn’t need to know anything about the machines or how to build them (and his testimony makes clear, they still don’t.)

Someone, of course, has to tell the engineers what to do. Good thing the Nicols have friends who are psychiatrists! From its inception shock doctor Richard Weiner has been Mecta’s main man. He and Harold Sackeim (who has his own place in the Hall of Shame) design the machines, the engineers build them, and Robin sells them. Easy—why, you could do it too! Weiner and Sackeim both admit to a 20-year-+ relationship with Mecta, copping to getting tens of thousands from them. That’s what they say, but come on, it’s got to be much more; clearly the clueless drink-dispensing couple would be out of business in two seconds without the shock docs. As a former Mecta engineer says, “When Harold calls, they jump.”

Of course, it’s unethical to take money from a company when you’re simultaneously accepting millions of dollars in federal grant money to investigate that company’s product (as both Weiner and Sackeim have done these past 20 years), and illegal not to disclose the shock company dollars—but hey, who’s looking?

As far as the FDA law on medical devices which is such a source of concern to manufacturers of other medical devices, who go to great lengths to comply with it…well, Gorham and Robin don’t sweat that little detail, they just ignore it, and they’ve never gotten into trouble. Gorham doesn’t even know what Class III means. He only heard that the FDA categorizes medical devices in terms of risk when he was on the witness stand in 2005.

Gorham has his own standard on ECT’s safety. It’s more akin to religion than science. Without any scientific data or studies, he’s content to just rely on his feelings and beliefs. “I don’t believe that it’s possible that there’s brain damage. Not even possible.” “I don’t feel there are risks.” Now, there. Doesn’t that make us all feel better?

That seems to be the position of a corrupt, industry-friendly FDA as well. So far, they haven’t called on the company to submit a Premarket Approval Application (PMA) as required by law for all Class III medical devices. If they ever did, it’s clear that Gorham and Robin would be stumped. And in that scenario, federal law requires that a medical device be taken off the market. Asked if he had any employees who were capable of conducting scientific clinical studies (as required for a PMA), Gorham replied emphatically, “Absolutely not.” He doesn’t even know that his company has never submitted such an application! But are the shock machine entrepreneur couple concerned? Nah.

They’ll just rely on Weiner and Sackeim to take care of the FDA for them. After all, Weiner has worked tirelessly to uphold the interests of Mecta Corporation at the FDA since 1982, wearing his hat as the Chairman of the “APA Task Force on the FDA”, and never ever revealing his financial interest in the device to the agency. It’s a little-known fact that back in 1982, FDA was ready to call for PMAs on the ECT device. Richard Weiner forestalled that by filing a petition with the FDA to reclassify the device to Class II without a safety investigation; he then lobbied every single member of the APA to write to the FDA with the message Do not conduct a safety investigation of the ECT device; just take our word that it’s safe. Hell, we’re doctors. This went on for more than twenty years. And that put the fear of God (or the APA, same thing) into the FDA so that they backed down and never conducted their own safety investigation or required the device manufacturers to do so.

One would hope that Gorham’s bought Richie a nice gold watch for his long years of service to the company.

No wonder Mr. and Mrs. Nicol are not worried about—hey, they’re not even aware of—federal regulations requiring suspected injuries caused by their devices to be reported to the FDA. FDA, Schmef-DA. They’ve never made any such reports.

In 2001, a report was made that a woman died as a result of a stroke suffered during ECT with a Mecta machine. The FDA became aware of it and contacted Mecta, but nothing happened, not even a slap on the wrist. No wonder the Nicols are so blase about the FDA.

On the witness stand defending his company against charges that his machine erased 30 years of a man’s life and reduced his IQ to the level of mental retardation, Gorham made it clear about twenty-seven different ways that he will never, ever believe any reports of harm from ECT made by patients. Who are all those patients anyway? Do they buy shock machines? Well, if not, they’re no concern of his. Why should he care? His clients are the doctors, and as he said repeatedly, none of them have any complaints with his machines whatsoever. Mecta will ignore any report of serious memory loss unless “it comes from the doctor or a hospital”, not a patient. “If a doctor complained,” he said, “we would investigate to the nth degree. We just have never had a complaint.” Asked what he would deem a complaint serious enough to be concerned about, he conceded that a death would be serious in some circumstances, but only “if it came from the hospital or a doctor.” But then ECT has never killed a doctor, or erased one’s memory, or taken one point off his IQ.

There is one small downside to owning a shock machine company. Lawsuits. Mecta’s been sued seven times and has had to pay out a token amount of settlement money. As Gorham grumbles, “Finish one, start another, finish one, start another.” He prefers to see them as one continuous lawsuit. He even thinks they’re all secretly brought by the same people conspiring to put him out of business. Seven, ten, twelve, what’s the difference? All you do is hand them over to your lawyers and pay Rich Weiner twenty to thirty thousand per lawsuit as an “expert witness”, no need to bother your head about them. No one’s won such a suit and it hasn’t put a dent in the company’s profits. So really, despite that small annoyance, it’s still a great business to own.

In fact, business appears to be booming. Besides the USA, Mecta sells machines to Europe, to China, to Bangladesh, Indonesia, the Philippines, Taiwan, Vietnam, Albania, Egypt, India, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey (a news article on the scandal of the use of ECT without anesthesia in Turkey featured a photo of a Mecta machine)….all over the world.

Sorry Mecta, but you might have some more competition soon. The secret’s out about how really, really easy it is to make money on shock machines! A rich daddy, a few friendly psychiatrists, and you’re in business.

Welcome Mr. and Mrs. Nicol! You may not be doctors, you may not have advanced degrees, but you are up there in the pantheon with the shock docs: You’re the 2006 inductees into the ECT.ORG Hall of Shame!

The top 33 reasons why Gorham Nicol of Mecta richly deserves the Hall of Shame award:

(Questions from lawyers and his responses at Mecta’s product liability trial)

1. Q: Your qualifications to own and operate a medical device company are what?

A: I have an MBA in business administration.

2. Q: Did you read any literature about ECT at the time that you purchased the company?

A: Dr. Maletzsky furnished us with some material…I didn’t go into a lengthy study of the pros and cons of ECT at that time.

3. Q: Had you come to some conclusions regarding the practice of ECT at the time you got the company?

A: Well, I felt it was safe.

Q: What was that conclusion based on?

A: Doctors were demanding it.

5. Q: Did you do any investigation into the harms caused by ECT?

A: I felt no need to do any investigating because I was once a year kind of immersed in it at the APA and I never heard a complaint.

6. Q: Have you ever looked at the FDA records of people that have filed complaints against ECT?

A: No. I talk to doctors that are practicing at the APA, and they haven’t brought any concerns to us as an manufacturer about the way our equipment is performing. So why would I do that?

7. Q: Did you read any of the books that were critical of ECT?

A: No. I believe I was aware of Friedman’s (sic) book. I haven’t seen it, but I heard that he wrote it.

8. Q: Did you make a search of any library indices?

A: I think we have been focusing more on improving equipment, adding features, that kind of thing. That is where my effort would go if I were going to take time to work on it.

9. Q: Why don’t you type in ECT on a computer and hit search and see what comes up?

A: Because I’m busy running another business.

10. Q: Do you have any knowledge concerning the physical effects on the body from ECT machines?

A: No.

11. Q: Have you heard that the purpose of an ECT machine is to cause a grand mal seizure?

A: I have heard that a number of times. Like, initially when I bought the company I was told that was what the machine did.

12. Q: None of Mecta’s ECT devices have ever undergone an FDA premarket approval process of scientific review to insure safety and efficacy, have they?

A: I’m not sure.

Note: The correct answer is No.

13. Q: The devices are marketed only on the basis that they are substantially equivalent to the shock devices that were being manufactured prior to 1976; correct?

A: I don’t believe that is correct.

The correct answer is: Yes, that is correct.

(At this point in his testimony, opposing counsel objects to Gorham’s lawyer giving him hand signals, apparently trying to communicate to his client that he had just given a wrong answer. To no avail; Gorham continues to give wrong answers.)

14. Q: Has Mecta conducted any risk assessments for its machines?

A: No.

15. Q: Does Mecta have any obligation to make reports to the FDA if there is an allegation against the company of damage due to their device?

A: I’m not sure.

The correct answer is: Yes.

16. Q: What, in your view, are the risks associated with your machine?

A: I don’t feel there are risks.

17. Q: Memory loss is not a risk of your machine; right?

A: Not of the machine.

18. Q: Didn’t Dr. Maletzky tell you there are a lot of risks to this machine?

A: No.

19. Q: If you were aware that only 26 percent of the APA psychiatrists who were surveyed disagreed with the statement that ECT causes at least slight or subtle brain damage, would you have conducted any risk assessment of your machine?

A: I would not have.

20. Q: As one of the board members and the vice president of the company, why didn’t you try to find out what kind of cognitive deficits this practice caused?

A: I had not heard of the cognitive deficits in the industry when I bought the company. The fact that doctors were excited about it, University of Oregon med school had put this machine together and the company had gone bankrupt was an opening for us to come in.
That’s why we bought it.

21. Q: Are you familiar with an adverse event reporting system by the FDA?

A: No.

22. Q: I want to know if you have ever done any safety studies on humans to see if it’s safe to use on human beings?

A: Those studies are done by the experts in the field, and we take the results of their expertise. Mecta is a machine manufacturer, and we make what we think is the best piece of equipment in the world, and we don’t do tests on humans in our plant.

23. Q: Have you never commissioned anyone to do any tests on humans to make sure your machine is safe to actually use on human beings?

A: No.

24. Q: Mecta doesn’t have any employees in the corporation with medical training, does it?

A: No.

25. Q: You don’t have any idea where the electricity goes in the brain that’s used in your machines, do you?

A: No.

26. Q: You don’t know whether the electricity destroys neurons, do you?

A: No.

27. Q: Do you know if the electricity in the machine causes any damages to brain cells?

A: No.

28. Q: In the past 25 years Mecta has never conducted any research of its own into the safety and efficacy of its ECT machines, has it?

A: That event needs to take place in the industry. We have used what the experts have found to be true.

29. Q: You haven’t done any survey of the purchasers of the machines either to find out if any patients have been harmed by the machine, have you?

A: No.

30. Q: Do you believe your machines are totally safe?

A: Yes.

31. Q: If any complaints are made against the machine, they can’t be legitimate?

A: If a doctor complained, we would investigate it to the nth degree. We have just never had a complaint in the 23 years.

32. Q: Is three anybody that is employed at the company that is capable of conducting scientific studies, clinical studies with human beings with respect to the effects of ECT?

A: Absolutely not.

33. Q: Severe loss of memory, would that be a serious enough complaint to deal with?

A: If it comes from the doctor or the hospital, yes. We don’t deal with it unless it’s from a doctor or hospital.

WINNER: Harold Sackeim: Lying for fun and profit

By Linda Andre

LYING FOR FUN AND PROFIT

sackeim.jpg In 1975, when he was a graduate student in psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, young Harold Sackeim wrote his masters thesis on self deception. And his PhD dissertation was titled “Self Deception: Motivational Determinants of the Non-Awareness of Cognition.”

So Harold became a doctor by self deception. He then seemed headed for a dead-end career in academic psychology, publishing on such decidedly unsexy topics as “Classroom seating and psychopathology.” He published a book chapter called “The Adaptive Value of Lying to Oneself” and an article titled “Self Deception: A concept in search of a phenomenon.”

Clearly Harold needed a product to pitch, a big-ticket tie-in; if he didn’t find one he would end up just another obscure academic researcher. Sometime around 1980, his concept met its phenomenon: Harold hitched his wagon to a shock machine. It was a perfect match. Harold’s star has done nothing but rise ever since.

Harold had received a grand total of about $5,000 in grant money up to 1981. That year he got half a million dollars, and the millions have been rolling in steadily ever since. By 1988, Harold was proclaiming himself a “world expert” on ECT, and not many in the world were inclined to contradict him.

The fact is that if Harold Sackeim didn’t exist the American Psychiatric Association would have had to invent him, in order to get out of what it perceived as a public relations problem with electroshock. Sackeim is a born PR man.

ECT PR battle- listen

No one else has had quite the stomach for ECT promotion that Harold has; other ECT advocates, not so skilled in self deception, tend to choke on the Big Lies he tells so glibly. Harold gives the impression of actually believing his own lies, and perhaps he really does.

Whenever the media does a story on ECT, Harold is there with a sound bite on the spot. Whenever an ECT survivor sues for memory loss, Harold is likely to be the “expert witness” testifying against her. He’s got his fingers in every dike where the truth about ECT might slip through.

A writer for a men’s magazine once called Harold Sackeim a “designer-suited scientist.” But only the first half of that description is accurate. Harold does wear the finest suits —though like the special souped-up shock machines he uses, they must be made to order, since he stands under five feet tall. But a scientist Harold Sackeim is not. All of his money and influence have gone, not into an objective scientific investigation of ECT, but into preventing such an investigation.

— Since 1981, Harold has been continuously funded by NIMH to study “Affective and Cognitive Consequences of ECT.” He’s received over five million dollars for this grant alone (he has several other million dollar grants from NIMH as well). That’s five million dollars that made sure that no one but Harold would have the official say as to exactly what ECT’s cognitive effects are. And it’s virtually certain now that no one else ever will. This grant, now entering its third decade, no longer has to compete with other proposals for funding; it’s renewed for ten years at a time, most recently in 2000.

What does Harold have to show for his twenty years of “research”? Well, he wrote last year that “we lack data” on the permanent adverse effects of ECT; in particular, he claims there is no research on the number of survivors who experience severe permanent amnesia.

— Rather than doing this research —- research he surely knows would be fatal to his published claims that ECT is safe, and to his position as the golden boy of the ECT industry — Harold’s chosen to simply make up some numbers. He wrote the APA’s informed consent form, which is used in one version or another in most hospitals in America. The form states that only “1 in 200″ ECT survivors report permanent memory loss. But that fake “statistic” is not based on anything. Harold was finally forced to admit (on national television) that this is simply a made-up number, and that there is no data to support it. Ever the PRman, he calls the figure “impressionistic.”

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Without blinking an eye, he’s now (as of mid-2001) begun touting a new “impressionistic” figure: 1 in 500.

— In a public hearing before the New York State Assembly in July 2001, Harold claimed he had “never” seen a case of anterograde memory loss after ECT. (Anterograde refers to loss of memory function; retrograde refers to loss of memories, or amnesia.) He invited “anyone in the country” who had experienced such loss to “come in for an evaluation.” Dozens of ECT survivors with anterograde memory loss contacted Harold. How many have been to Harold’s facility for an evaluation? Not one. Harold backpedaled on his invitation as fast as he could the instant it became clear that survivors would, indeed, take him up on it. Those who’ve phoned, emailed or faxed Harold report that he either never responded, or simply told them—-without meeting them or doing any testing or evaluation—-that something other than ECT was to blame for their deficits. Drugs, other psychiatric treatments—whatever he could think of—must have caused the disability or brain damage, not ECT, he said. Therefore there was no need for an evaluation to see if ECT had done it. In one memorable case of a woman whose brain damage and permanent cognitive disability had already been well documented (and attributed to ECT) by her doctors, a lesser PR man than Harold might have been at somewhat of a loss as to what to say to her. The woman had never had any drugs, treatment, or mental illness after having ECT. So what caused her deficits? Harold wasn’t stumped for an answer: why, it was the short period of mental illness she’d experienced nearly two decades earlier, for which she was given ECT, that damaged her brain! “You’re saying you believe mental illness causes brain damage?” asked the astounded woman. “We know it does,” came the answer, quick as a con man’s switch of the cards. He explained that he believes “depression itself, period” always causes brain damage even when successfully treated.

— But stop the presses! It’s not exactly correct to say Harold isn’t gathering data on the incidence of retrograde and anterograde memory loss, and brain damage, due to electroshock. A member of his research team recently admitted that he does, in fact, test his research subjects’ memory and cognitive abilities before and after ECT. And although many of his tests are too easy or irrelevant to be useful, he does use at least one of the tests that ECT survivors have found relevant to our deficits. The catch: he’s never published or disclosed any of the results of these tests, or even the fact that he administers them. Wonder why not? And since he’s using federal money to do the testing, how can he hide the results?

— Much of Harold’s grant money has gone, not into actual research, but into long “review” articles in which he selectively trashes everybody else’s research. He did this is a 1993 article in which he dismissed the existing brain damage research, and in a 2000 article in which he trashed the memory loss research. In both articles he simply left out or distorted those published articles which say that ECT causes brain damage and memory loss.

— For over a decade, Harold has expressed the opinion that research into whether ECT causes brain damage is “not of scientific interest”, “uninteresting”, and “unlikely to be funded.”

A real scientist doesn’t cut off entire areas of scientific investigation by fiat.

Sackeim is in a position not just to express this opinion, but also to enforce it, and that’s exactly what he’s done. By virtue of his role as a reviewer of every proposed ECT grant that comes into NIMH and other agencies that might fund ECT research, and by virtue of his position on the editorial boards of virtually all journals which publish ECT articles, Sackeim’s arguably done more than any man in America to prevent a scientific investigation of ECT’s effects on the brain from ever being funded or published.

Ironically, his lab at the New York State Psychiatric Institute is stocked with the latest brain imaging technology, technology that’s available in only a handful of institutions in this country. Harold’s got both the tools and the money to settle the question of whether ECT causes brain damage —- but you see, that’s what a scientist would do, and he’s a PR man.

— Harold does MRIs on his ECT patients routinely, but not to assess the effects of ECT! He uses the brain scans to help him learn how to design and use the giant magnet (or transcranial magnetic stimulation) machines from which is making a profit and stands to make a killing when and if they replace ECT machines! What a waste of costly MRI scans…paid for with our tax money. They could be used for science, to assess the effects of ECT on the brain, if someone would just read them for that purpose, instead of as a way to further Harold’s career as a brain damage profiteer. (If you guessed that Harold’s on the payroll of the magnet machine manufacturers such as Magstim, you’re correct! He “consults” for them, gets grants from them, and how could he resist owning stock in them?)

— He’s also a consultant to the shock machine company Mecta, and has been since the mid 1980s. He’s worked for shock machine company Somatics as well. He’s even received grant money from Mecta. Federal law requires NIMH grantees to disclose actual or potential financial conflicts of interest, and requires that the conflicts be managed or eliminated. Sackeim has never disclosed his financial ties to the shock machine companies.

He does, however, disclose that he was on the board of Cambridge Neuroscience, a company that made a drug that was supposed to alleviate ECT’s effects on memory. (It didn’t.) Harold’s position that ECT is safe and can’t cause memory loss doesn’t interfere with his eagerness to make a buck off that memory loss.

His biggest whopper, for which he is justly infamous, is this one:

ECT improves memory. This statement appears in the APA consent form and many other consent forms, such as the one recently adopted by the state of Vermont. When Harold first came out with this line in the early 90s, ECT survivors laughed, figuring it was some kind of sick joke.

But no one else is laughing.

As it turns out, even Harold’s own published articles don’t support that claim. He cites only to himself as “proof”, since there isn’t anyone else; he usually cites, for instance, Sackeim et al, “Subjective Memory Complaints Prior to and Following Electroconvulsive Therapy”, Biological Psychiatry 39: 346-356 and Sackeim et al, “Effects of depression and ECT on anterograde memory.” Biological Psychiatry 21: 921-930, 1986. What this research actually shows is that patients are poor judges of their memory functioning in the days and weeks shortly following ECT, and although when asked by their shock doctors they reported their memories to be good or better than ever, in fact their performance on objective tests of memory functioning was worse. In order words, Sackeim’s own research is consistent with the conclusion that patients are suffering from acute organic brain syndrome due to ECT.

Harold is so addicted to lying, he does it just for fun. A few years ago, while teaching one of his “How to do ECT” classes, he recounted an anecdote involving a well-known New York City human rights activist and a man who was Harold’s patient at the time. Harold claimed that the advocate had come to his hospital, demanded to see this patient, got into the hospital and then tried to talk the patient out of having ECT. The punch line of the story – which got a resounding laugh out of the aspiring shock docs – was that this patient then decided to go ahead with ECT.

It made a great story, flattering to Harold, derogatory to what he called “the anti-ECT movement.” Except for one thing: it never happened. The advocate never went near Sackeim’s institution, never spoke to his patient, never tried to contact him in any way. The “anti psychiatry” organization Harold claimed she represented did not exist. He just made up the name on the spot, for purposes of his story.

His audience was completely duped, to the extent that a discussion ensued on the topic of “What would you do if anti-psychiatry came to your door?”

Did Sackeim tell his students he made up the whole thing? No, he was having too much fun. Was he maybe psychotic when he told the story? Arguably. Or as a doctor of self-deception, did he actually believe it to be true?

SHAME on Harold Sackeim for worming himself into positions of public trust, then abusing the hell out of that trust, and for making a killing doing it.

SHAME for playing the “mental patients are irrational and dishonest” card, rather than honestly investigating and documenting our reports of permanent memory loss and brain damage. (See his many government-funded articles in which he argues that people who report amnesia and cognitive deficits after ECT are crazy – for example, “Subjective Memory Complaints: A Review of Patient Self-Assessment of Memory After Electroconvulsive Therapy,” Journal of ECT, June 2000.) SHAME for playing this card as an “expert witness” on the stand against persons with permanent memory loss and cognitive disability.

SHAME for playing the “violent mental patients” card with the media, as in his false claim that patients have made “death threats” on him.

SHAME for telling one of his research subjects who was brave enough to confront him after losing twenty years of memory that her memory loss “couldn’t” be caused by ECT, and “must have” been caused by a stroke she had without realizing it.

SHAME for telling each one of the hundreds of survivors who’ve been his subjects or who’ve contacted him, “Your losses could not possibly be due to ECT”, and then saying with a straight face and fingers crossed behind his back (in court, to policymakers, to politicians, to the media) that he has “never” seen a case of permanent ECT memory loss.

Whether for fun or profit, the net effect of Harold Sackeim’s lies has been to end all scientific investigation of ECT’s effects on memory and the brain, and to effectively discredit survivors who report memory loss and brain damage, and to prevent future patients from being informed of ECT’s permanent effects.

No one is more shameless than Harold Sackeim, and no one more richly deserves induction into the ect.org Hall of Shame.

Were you treated with electroshock at New York State Psychiatric Institute (NYSPI)? Treated poorly? Complaints ignored? Dropped from the study and read later that you were never included in the study participants? You aren’t alone, and we can help. Your privacy is guaranteed.
Email, fax or call: 212-NO-JOLTS

Were you an employee in the electroshock research department at New York State Psychiatric Institute (NYSPI)? You witnessed things that have weighed on your conscience ever since? Whistleblowers are encouraged to contact us. Your privacy is guaranteed.

WINNER: Charles Kellner

Disclaimer: This is NOT the Charles (Chuck) Kellner who is an engineer. That Chuck Kellner seems like a very nice guy and I regret that people trying to find him come upon this page. He has nothing to do with Charles Kellner the shock doc.

Public Misinformation Manager

Welcome our newest member to the ECT Hall of Shame, Dr. Charles Kellner.

Charles KellnerDr. Kellner makes a career out of distorting the truth in order to make ECT look better to the public. He has lied on other television shows, covering up his ties to the manufacturers, and distorting available research.

However, this is the first time we have it on tape for your review.

From the talk show Gordon Elliot, we present our latest Shame Inductee, Dr. Charles Kellner.

BUSTED – LIAR

Dr. Charles Kellner blatantly lies about the current stimulus dosing used in today’s ECT!

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When questioned about his financial ties to Mecta, one of the shock machine manufacturers, Dr. Charles Kellner attempts to change the subject.
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Here, Dr. Kellner says the tragic experiences of patients like Hope and Diann’a are “unfortunate” and goes on to say that most people will be cured by ECT. He fails to mention the now-admitted high relapse rate, or the need for continuation/maintenance ECT.[gv data="cZ7wjoJoMvE"width="250" height="206"][/gv]

Dr. Charles Kellner misleads the public about the effectiveness of ECT.

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Dr. Charles Kellner makes up a story about how ect works. The truth is, nobody knows, and he’s CAUGHT ON TAPE fabricating a nice tale.

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WINNER: Christian Hageseth – Warm fuzzies and teddy bears

hags.jpgChristian Hageseth III promoted himself as the “Compassionate” Shock Doc. And he lived up to his name, sharing his passion with a former patient and losing not only his license to practice, but a lawsuit filed by the husband of his paramour.

Hageseth first made the ect.org Hall of Shame when I was contacted by a former patient of his, who had bad things to say about him. This was before his sexual scandal began.

She introduced me to one of Hageseth’s books about the use of laughter. While I agree emphatically with the idea of using humor as a way of coping with stress and unfortunate circumstances, I found the book to be condescending and lacking substance.

This guy promotes himself as a compassionate humorist. That’s a laugh. Instead, read what he has to say about persons diagnosed with psychiatric illness, in his book “A Laughing Place.”

Humor for Psychiatric Patients This is almost too broad a subject because of the variety of disorders which may require psychiatric intervention. In general, I would avoid giving this book to any person in crisis and I would avoid applying humor until he is showing definite signs of recovery. Maybe the book could serve as a thoughtful gift when he is “Out of the woods.” But, early in the process, there is no telling how your attempts at humor might be interpreted – or misinterpreted. “Black Hole” People Black hole people are those negative, humorless individuals who seem to suck humor out of any environment. Like black holes in space, they are so heavy that not even light can escape from them.

I’ve been a “black hole” person myself, during deep depressions, and humor was my savior. I completely disagree with the paternalistic thinking that humor might tread dangerous ground for someone who is very ill. Instead, it’s a lifeline, and I’ve found this to be very true for most persons I’ve known, no matter how bad they were feeling. Basically, his best advice is give this book as a gift. It’s repeated on nearly every page.

I had gotten the impression that Hageseth was condescending and paternalistic *before* he had his son and wife do his dirty work and contact me about his entry into the Hall of Shame. After hearing from the son, my worst fears were confirmed. Anyone who says that “My daddy is a doctor and went to school a lot of years” and you’re just a “crazy bitch” with a website is someone who uses a psychiatric diagnosis against people when it’s the only ammo they have. That kind of attitude is learned somewhere, and I doubt that Christian the fourth (IV) picked it up in the Fort Collins schoolyard. Hey, IV, couldn’t your daddy even buy you a name of your own? (Ha, that’s a joke for the humor-impaired. Well, *I* thought it was funny!)

Seriously, though, there’s something not quite right when a man doesn’t have the guts to contact you himself, and instead, sends his son and wife to do so. Most of all, I was embarrassed for the whole family. Enough said.

In 1996, at a meeting in Washington, DC at Center for Mental Health Services (SAMHSA/CHMS), one of the reviewers, Linda Andre, brought Hageseth’s ECT video for review. It was not well-received by those who viewed it.

Read Linda Andre’s review of the video (which is probably no longer for sale, now that the doctor has gone out of business).
Mr. Rogers on shock

Christian III also had a website where he hawked his books and video, but it disappeared shortly after the sex scandal went public. However, thanks to the fantastic Wayback Machine, the site is archived for posterity, as part of its Internet history collaboration with Alexa.

Read the news accounts of the scandal. (click this link, then see possibly related posts at the bottom of each post for more) In short, the doctor had a patient, then had an affair with her and eventually married her. The jury awarded nearly a quarter million dollars to the husband. Hageseth’s medical license was revoked, but an appeals court later reinstated it. According to the State of Colorado, it now has been “surrendered.”

Currently, the happy couple produces a bird dog show. In his bio at the bird dog site, he says he “decided to take a new direction in life” after practicing medicine. As a dog lover myself, and as someone who grew up around hunting and bird dogs (most of them, oddly, were named Old Joe…and our main horses named Star and gray cats named Goober – I can’t explain why our animals kept having the same names), I cannot find fault in that. I wish all of them, especially their lovely dogs, well. (Note to Chris & family, the dog lovers: if I can find and scan a copy, you might like a picture of myself with my (now deceased) dog Sharik when we were featured on the cover of Woman’s Day Magazine for an article I wrote. From one dog lover to another…{{hugs}})

Interesting, though, that his birddog bio seems to say he left medicine voluntarily to devote time to the birddog show. I’m not sure that’s accurate.

Read the emails from his son and wife to me. (Note: Christian IV asked if I would open the website up to free debate, and I invited him to the message board where free debate occurs daily, but he didn’t show up. He’s welcome there, and welcome to post here in the comments section. *Hugs Chris 4*)

Update: He’s got a new website – wahoo!

Now you can download a condensed version of his humor book. It’s free! Warning, the photos on the page are very disturbing. Kind of like Creepy the Clown.
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Some facts about psychiatrists and sexual abuse of their patients:

* The majority of psychiatrists who sexually abuse their clients are never reported.

* The number of disciplinary actions against physicians regarding sexual abuse doubled from 1994 to 1996

* Less than half of those disciplined lost the ability to practice.

* Among all physicians disciplined for sexual offenses, psychiatrists made up the majority (27.9 percent). Child psychiatrists represented 2.5 percent, indicating that even our most vulnerable are not entirely safe from the professionals they may turn to for help.

(from a study by Public Citizen Health Research Group)

A huge database of psychiatrists in trouble.

WINNER: Max Fink, the grandfather of American ECT


fink.jpgGrandpa Max used to claim that ECT worked by causing brain damage. He argued for years that the therapeutic effect from ECT is produced by brain dysfunction and damage. He pointed out in his 1979 textbook that “patients become more compliant and acquiescent with treatment,” and he connected the improvement with “denial, disorientation,” and other signs of traumatic brain injury and an organic brain syndrome.

Fink was even more explicit in earlier studies. In 1956 he stated that the basis for improvement from ECT is “cranio-cerebral trauma.” In 1966, Fink cited his own research indicating that “there is a relation between clinical improvement and the production of brain damage or an altered state of brain function.” He does not, however, make such statements in public, in court, or in the 1990 APA Task Force Report.

Max has also been busy with other ventures. Born in 1923, he is currently professor (emeritus) of psychiatry at SUNY at Stony Brook. His CV is too long to list here, but here are a few interesting appointments:

Founding Editor, Convulsive Therapy
Consultant to the FDA
U.S. Army on the Feasibility of Using Incapacitating Agents Against Terrorists.
Captain, U.S. Army.

The Finkeroo owns a company called SciData, based in Atlanta, Georgia. Organized in 1967, the last year’s sales were listed at $170,000.

Fink helps out his buddy, Richard Abrams, with Somatics, Inc. He narrates Abrams’ videotapes for Somatics, Inc., which sell for $350 to health professionals, or $360 for patients and families. Or you can buy a “preview version” for $25.

Max has a habit of being a little less than honest at times.

For example, he is responsible for the famed 1 in 200 statistic, which the APA uses in its literature. This statistic, long criticized by ECT advocates and survivors, supposedly reflects the number of patients who suffer memory loss. Recently, Max admitted the number was *not* based on any scientific studies, as had been widely claimed, but rather, was an “impressionistic” number – meaning he made it up.

Here’s another example, in a post of his from the shock doc mailing list:

“2. The second question is how to achieve an effective treatment in the face of the limited output of brief-pulse devices. The usual approaches are to use bilateral placement; change anesthetic from methohexital to etomidate; determine the dosing of benzodiazepines and if these were used, block with the antagonist flumazenil; enhance seizure duration by either caffeine or theophylline; and when these fail, double stimulation. If the lack of adequate energy is a frequent issue in practice, the THYMATRON can be modified to the British version, or the MECTA can have the Sackeim modification added — for research purposes.” For research purposes, Max??? That’s his way of covering his butt. He’s telling other shock docs how to boost the juice way past the machinery’s capabilities….for “research” purposes. This post was in response to a query from another doctor with legitimate patient concerns.

Max also doesn’t take confidentiality very seriously. He’s often harassed a certain ECT survivor, shutting down question and answer periods when she arrived. But he’s gone beyond that, by shouting at her and telling the entire workshop medical information from her confidential medical records.

All in the name of science for Max Fink.

Here is an example of his condescension towards mental patients: during a session on ECT for doctors, a doctor is explaining a patient he has who is afraid she’ll die if the machine shuts down, and the need for backup batteries. Max finds this to be a chuckle.

Max Fink chuckles at patient’s fears

He also sees himself as a celeb of sorts, illustrating how “fans” approach him after seeing his old video.

I’m famous and mobbed by my fans

Reporters are frequently invited by Max Fink to witness patients being given the treatment. Psychiatrist Peter Breggin has urged him to allow them to see his patients *after* they have received a full course of shocks. Under pressure, Fink agreed, but with a catch. While he charges nothing for the media to watch a patient undergo the procedure, he decided to charge $25,000 for himself and $15,000 for the patient for a single interview with the patient awake after a course of ECT.

This old goat needs to be put out to pasture….

WINNER: Kimon Efstathianos, deceased

Dr. Kimon Efstathianos of Belleville, Illinois, now deceased.

efs.jpgThis man nearly ruined my life, and I’m sorry that I didn’t just sue him ragged. I’ve now found plenty of lawyers who would LOVE to take the case, but my statute of limitations has run out. It took too long to get my life back after he fried my brain, and in that time, my time ran out. Such is life…

Kimon is called Dr. E by most. He thinks he’s a gift from god, especially towards women. He’s a condescending male chauvinist pig. In talking to other patients and former patients, one thing is clear. Men relate to him, women hate him. He graduated in the 1950s from Greece, and it’s obvious he hasn’t kept up to date, other than visits with pharmaceutical reps who bring him the coffee mug or other gift of the month.

I’ve never heard legitimate charges that he has sexually abused a female (or male) patient, but frankly, it wouldn’t surprise me to learn of such things. He very obviously thinks very little of women, and this is evident in his shock practice. He lies, tells women not to worry about things, and to simply do as they’re told.

Yes, Master.

When I had shock treatment, he told my family the following lies:

* 1. It would cure me. (It didn’t)
* 2. He would use unilateral (in fact, most psychiatrists talk about unilateral, but don’t use it, because it’s not very effective, unless the amount of electricity is extremely high, and the stimulus dosage quite long)
* 3. There would be no lasting damage.

After his treatments didn’t work, he told my family to write me off, to save themselves. Screw you for that, you freako bastard. Fortunately, they didn’t write me off, and once I found a competent, caring psychiatrist and the love and support of my family, friends, and the compassion in the psychiatric survivor’s movement, I recovered. Completely. Despite his predictions that I was doomed to live my life in a mental hospital.

Dr. E also doesn’t know much about current psychiatric treatments. During my ECT, he changed my diagnosis from clinical depression, to bipolar disorder. I do believe the bipolar diagnosis is valid, but not based on his reasoning. He gave me the Dexamethasone Suppression test, which is an outdated test that is not efficient. When I told other psychiatrists (who keep current, not stuck in the 1950s) how he based his new diagnosis, they guffawed at his idiocy. This test has absolutely nothing to do with bipolar disorder.

Another time, I took in some studies about a new medication. Instead of simply saying “You’re a woman, women are inferior to men, and you’re a retarded mental patient and should stay quiet and submit,” he grabbed the papers from me, threw them to the ground, and screamed, “I don’t care how the hell they do it at Columbia University!!! THIS is how we do it here.”

Gee, not defensive about your lack of medical knowledge, are you?

Another time, Dr. E hospitalized me against my will because I questioned his medical knowledge. How dare I! I was not suicidal, nor a danger to anyone but his own self confidence. But he put in my records that I was suicidal, which led me to a locked ward. When I inquired about the possibility of signing out, I was greeted with massive doses of Haldol (an antipsychotic used to drug people into submission) and threats of being sent to the state hospital (a place of horrors).

I later learned that the only way I could get out was to kiss his ass, and as ugly as that was, I did so. I told him he was a great man, and he immediately got a giant woody and smiled. The words he wanted to hear. I also asked why he had put in my records that I was suicidal, when I wasn’t, and he replied “So the insurance would pay the bill.”

So now we’ve got a little insurance fraud going on.

So what does Dr. E stand for:

1. Lies to patients and families
2. Hates women and thinks they are inferior
3. Insurance fraud
4. His medical knowledge is stuck in the 1950s
5. Very defensive
6. One lousy son of a bitch.

If you live in the Belleville, Illinois area (a suburb of St. Louis), I would advise you to avoid this man at all costs, unless you’re into being a Stepford patient.

WINNER: Richard Abrams

Untitled-4.jpgRichard Abrams is the king of self promotion and conflict of interest. His grimy hands are dipped in every pot of electric gold he can find. Not only has he written *the* textbook on ECT (Electroconvulsive Therapy by Oxford Press, 1997), he co-owns Somatics, Inc., manufacturer of the ThymatronTM, the hottest new product in brain assault. And if that isn’t enough, Abrams’ company also manufactures the mouth guard to prevent dental injury during ECT.

When a doctor wrote in the medical journal Convulsive Therapy that doctors could save money by using sports mouth guards instead of more expensive ones, Abrams’ Somatics partner wrote a letter attacking the idea. He didn’t bother to mention that he and Abrams owned the company that manufactured the alternative (at $29 each!)

Some believe that Abrams suffers from multiple personality disorder because of his differing looks. (The above picture is from his blond permed period) I prefer to think that he simply has bad hair days. Thanks to my good friend Jean F. who has provided me with more laughter on this particular concept. Her monologues on Abrams’ varying hairdos are worth more than a year’s supply of Prozac!

Abrams’ text, considered the authoritative work on ECT, subtly promotes his ThymatronTM by pointing out the advantages of an audible system of monitoring induced seizures, over the old fashioned method of chart and pen. And of course the ThymatronTM has it!

thym.jpgHe sells all kinds of gadgets, courses and anything related to ECT: machines, mouth guards, books and videos. He’s the King of ECT! I’m looking forward to the infomercial and the Home ThymatronTM, soon to be seen on the Home Shopping Network.

Abrams will continue to promote ECT over any other method of treatment until the day he dies. In fact, he even says that no progress has been made in the pharmacological treatment of depression since the 1950s. He wrote the following statement in 1992, well after the successful introduction of Prozac and a host of other new antidepressants:

“…despite manufacturers’ claims, no significant progress in the pharmacological treatment of depression has occurred since the introduction of imipramine in 1958.”

Somatics, Inc. Links:
Isn’t it time to upgrade to a Thymatron? – Abrams goes on the offensive and compares his machine to Mecta’s.

Addendum: Here’s an interesting Letter to the Editor from Conrad Schwartz, Abrams’ business partner in Somatics. Conrad and Richard sieze any opportunity they can to diss the competition, Mecta:

Am J Psychiatry 158:973-974, June 2001

Letter to the Editor

ECT Failure Rate Among Specific Devices

CONRAD M. SWARTZ, PH.D., M.D.
Springfield, Ill.
To the Editor: In reporting that adequate ECT seizures were not obtained at the maximum electrical stimulus dose in 5% of ECT patients, Andrew D. Krystal, M.D., M.S., et al. (1) did not recognize that this result is limited to the MECTA Corporation ECT device they used. Instead, they suggested that their results apply to all devices: “Approximately one of six patients…required the maximum possible ECT stimulus intensity available on U.S. ECT devices” (p. 965). The result is limited to MECTA devices because the pulse width and frequency of the maximum stimulus they use are specific to MECTA devices, and their values are crucial to the reported study. These values are for a 2.0-msec pulse width and a 90-Hz frequency with a 2.0-sec duration and 0.8 A current. Compared to these values, the combination of a narrower pulse width, lower frequency, and longer duration should produce lower rates of failure for seizure induction (2, 3). The point that a 5% failure rate is needlessly high is indisputable. However, the failure rate should be substantially lower with more efficient electrical stimuli as well as with higher doses.

Dr. Krystal et al. repeatedly noted a “maximum stimulus intensity limitation of 576 millicoulombs (mC) imposed on U.S. ECT devices by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)” (p. 963). The actual limitation is 100 J of energy at 220 {Omega} of impedance. For 0.8 A current, as used in MECTA devices, this limitation corresponds to 572 mC. The original source for a figure of 576 mC is MECTA’s commercial literature. I also wish to point out that nowhere in their published article do Dr. Krystal et al. note their relationship with MECTA Corporation.

Footnotes

The author is a member/manager of Somatics LLC, a maker of ECT instruments.

References

  1. Krystal AD, Dean MD, Weiner RD, Tramontozzi LA III, Connor KM, Lindahl VH, Massie RW: ECT stimulus intensity: are present ECT devices too limited? Am J Psychiatry 2000; 157:963–967[Abstract/Free Full Text]
  2. Swartz CM, Larson G: ECT stimulus duration and its efficacy. Ann Clin Psychiatry 1989; 1:147–152
  3. Swartz CM, Manly DT: Efficiency of the stimulus characteristics of ECT. Am J Psychiatry 2000; 157:1504–1506

SPECIAL AWARD: Gary C. Aden, HC Tien, and D. Ewen Cameron

Marquis de Sade Awards

Three doctors are receiving special awards in the ect.org Hall of Shame,
the Marquis de Sade Award for sadism in psychiatry.

Congratulations to

Gary C. Aden, HC Tien, and D. Ewen Cameron!

* The first two inductees were the original co-founders of the International Psychiatric Association for the Advancement of Electrotherapy (later renamed Association for Convulsive Therapy).

* Gary C. Aden, co-founder and first president, had his license revoked after being accused of sexually abusing patients in a sadistic manner. In 1989, he gave up his license after allegations that he had sex with patients, beat them, and branded two of the women with heated metal devices, including an iron that bore his initials. In another story, a patient describes Aden as drugging her with a hypo before sexually abusing her and beating her with a riding crop.

* Co-founder HC Tien, used shock to obliterate and reprogram the mind of a woman to make her a more suitable housewife. Tien, of Michigan, utilized it to erase her memory and personality. In this case, he reprogrammed the woman into a more docile mate. This was reported in detail in two issues of Frontiers in Psychiatry, a Roche Laboratories handout sent to all psychiatrists in the country.

* He said the memory loosening and the infantile state produced by the ECT made the patient amenable to drastic change. A relative helped reprogram the patient’s personality according to a blueprint worked out prior to the shock. In this case, the woman wanted a divorce, and Dr. Tien and her husband coerced her into shock, saying that if she didn’t comply, she would lose her children. As the good doctor shocked her, her husband worked on “reprogramming” her into his submissive wife. After the treatments concluded, all divorce action was forgotten, and she truly turned into the Stepford Wife.

* Former president of the APA, D. Ewen Cameron of Canada, and first president of the World Psychiatric Association, was one of the most revered and rewarded psychiatrists on the international scene. He subjected his patients to twice-daily doses of six ECTs, one after another, to maintain the patient in one prolonged stupor. With much, or even all, of their lifetime memory bank obliterated, six months would be taken to reprogram them into more docile personalities and they would be given new memories. This suddenly became a scandal, not because of his techniques, but because of the disclosure in newspaper reports and books that he had been secretly financed in part by CIA. The CIA was eager to use these methods to “brainwash” people. His grisly methods and CIA funding are detailed in the book by John Marks (1979), “The Search for the Manchurian Candidate” and the later book, “In The Sleep Room: The Story of the CIA Brainwashing Experiments.”

* Congratulations to these fine examples of leadership in psychiatry and electroconvulsive therapy.

Here is the BBC’s Frontline Scotland Documentary on Cameron:

Part 1

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Part 2
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Part 3
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Christian Hageseth 4th: “Any crazy bitch can get a web site”

Here are a couple of fan mails from the son and wife of Christian Hageseth. I’ve gotten others, but they’re just too boring to post.

I’ve also received a number of emails from women who say they were former patients of Hageseth. Let’s just say they’re all disgruntled and have one theme in common: they all believe Hageseth does not like assertive women.

Interesting, then, that he has his wife write his emails for him, as well as his son. Seems like Hageseth is missing a sac if he can’t even write his own emails.

I have to admit that Christian the 4th’s line “Any crazy bitch can get a website” is my all-time favorite! Love it! He’s so darned cool.

Date: Thu, 10 May 2001 14:35:09 -0700 (PDT)
From: Christian Hageseth
Subject: Not the Doctor but his son.

Juli,
I came across your web site today for the first time. You may recognize my name.

Let me leave my comments to this:

It is far easier to criticise than to do – as you are showing. The men you blast have all applied themselves for, on average, 14 years of education – after high school – Just to begin practicing psychiatry. Any crazy bitch can get a web site.

More people listen to you when you sling mud than when you speak the truth. You reach out exclusively to what you term the victims and survivors – the truth would inculde all perspectives without using words which provide insight into your clear bias.

I hope you are well intentioned but doubt you are. I hope that you can help the number of people my Dad helped in his career – but am sure you will not.

I see you are involved in criticism not action, slinging mud not pursuing the truth and most horrifyingly you preach your personal opinions, in the context of educating.

You call in to question my Dad’s motivation for the making of his video – have you ever criticized your own motivation? Should you choose to open your site up to an actual debate I would gladly apply the same critical eye to your motivations as you did to my fathers – could you possibly be courageous enough to handle that?

Sincerely,
Christian Hageseth IV
(The son of one of your victims)

——————————————————————————–

From: “Dr. Christian Hageseth”
To: emailgraphic.jpg
Subject: Just Plain Wrong
Date: Wed, 16 May 2001 09:50:10 -0600

Well, imagine how it feels to read such erroneous, gossip about one’s own husband.

I am not sure just what kind of crusade you are on, but it would be helpful to get your facts straight.

My husband, Dr. Christian Hageseth, does NOT have sex with his patients, again check your facts, or do you want to read like the National Enquirer? Shame on you.

The Appellate Court of Appeals of the State of Colorado reversed the Colorado State Medical Board’s decision to revoke Dr. Hageseth’s license. They stated in the official record that�the medical board failed to prove their case.

God help you if you should ever find yourself suffering from severe intractable depression that no therapy or drug can touch. I only pray that you will have a doctor like Dr. Hageseth who administered ECT in the most compassionate way possible, who cared for his patients and changed their�lives. One of the greatest results of ECT is that it allows subsequent medications to be effective when before ECT they were not.

You are scaring away people who desperately need ECT. You are lying on the web where people can read it.

Shame on you, shame on YOU.

Laurel Hageseth

Review: Beyond Stigma: The Compassionate Application of Electro-Convulsive Therapy

Video Review
Beyond Stigma: The Compassionate Application of Electro-Convulsive Therapy
by Linda Andre

The only reason shock treatment has gotten such an undeserved bad rap is because doctors who give it don’t treat patients nice enough.

What’s wrong with this statement? If you said nothing, I can think of some prime real estate in Brooklyn that’s for sale real cheap.

Most people would probably say, “While I have no personal knowledge about shock treatment and haven’t researched it myself, I am willing to take the word of a psychiatrist and member of the American Psychiatric Association, who must know what he’s talking about. Besides he wouldn’t have produced and marketed a tape with such nice music, and couldn’t sell it for so much money, and wouldn’t have a web site devoted to selling it, and wouldn’t be so apparently sincere about it, if it were all a bunch of hooey.”

Brooklyn Bridge for sale: $10.

Christian Hageseth might have gotten the idea for his new video, “Beyond Stigma: The Compassionate Application of Electro-Convulsive Therapy,” from watching late-night TV. This is a nation of people who believe in credit-card psychics, he probably said to himself. If the suckers will pay for that, have I got a gimmick for them! In fact, the more unbelievable and outrageous it is, the more they’ll love it! I know! I’ll call it Compassionate ECT!

You might consider giving Chris points for originality, at least. Surely no one else has ever had the gall to try to market such a bizarre idea. But sadly, there are one or two precedents. In the 1970s, shock doctor HC Tien tried to change shock’s name and reputation: he called his version ELT, or Electro-Love-Therapy. The “Love” was a form of shock so intense that patients, who were always women, frequently those not happy in their housewife and mother roles, forgot their entire identities and regressed to the point of having to be bottle-fed. They were then resocialized by Tien into their housewife and mother roles, and Tien and the husbands were pleased with the results. The women even took new names to distance their new docile personalities from their old troublesome ones.

At one time in the 80s, I believe there was also a shock machine company that advertised “A Machine with a Memory—and Compassion.” Perhaps the machines sucked up and acquired the stolen memories of the patients they were attached to. No one explained how the machines came by compassion. Anyway, the compassion thing never caught on as a marketing slogan, until now.

It turns out that Chris has a different idea of what compassion is. But before we ask what he means, let’s just look at the logical absurdities of his fundamental premise. You don’t need a Ph.D. to do this. ECT is the application of electricity to the human brain to produce grand mal seizures. The brain is the brain (humans haven’t changed much in the past 50 years), electricity is electricity, and what happens when they meet is governed by the laws of physics, not by what patients do in the waiting room, how reassuring the doctor is, what the patient is wearing, how many people are present when shock is done, or anything else Hageseth thinks can magically affect what shock is and does.

Since shock always causes permanent memory loss of weeks, months or years, and since that memory loss almost always includes the actual administration of the shocks, the patients will never remember any of those things anyway. Had they been misled by his recommended tricks to feel slightly less anxious before the shock, they won’t know or care about this afterwards. We can’t help asking: Who is Hageseth seeking to reassure, and, who is he seeking to benefit by making this video? It can’t be his patients.

“The stigma of ECT didn’t just happen,” Hageseth claims. “It came about because of the way it was administered in the past.”

Maybe, he suggests, getting ECT should be more of a happy occasion, like having a baby. He even says that psychiatry should take cues from obstetrics: set up special “suites” just for ECT, for instance. Most hospitals already do this. The logical problem for Hageseth’s theory is that obstetrics, unlike psychiatry, did not get stigmatized for not having special suites, or for having ‘small and crowded’ rooms, or for not allowing family members to be present during procedures for which patients are unconscious. Nor did any other medical or surgical procedures, which, cosmetically at least, resemble shock—requiring surgical gowns, anesthesia, special rooms, and life-support equipment. Why aren’t these procedures, and the professionals who give them, stigmatized because of “the way they are administered?” Might there just be something else that is different about psychiatry in general, and shock in particular?

There can’t be, he insists. He protests too much. ECT suites are not enough, he says. We must do ECT with compassion.

What does he mean by compassion?

Turns out, something different from what the rest of us think it is. He’s confused compassion with infantilism, a switch that speaks volumes about his opinion of his patients. The video not only tells us about, but demonstrates, Hageseth’s brand of compassion.

First, it involves mural wallpaper. Hageseth papered his free-standing Colorado psychiatric clinic in photographic murals of forests and mountains. In fact, there’s a little trompe l’oeil sequence in the video where you just see the forest scene until the view expands, and you see it’s only wallpaper. The clue is that the scene is interrupted, fittingly, by electrical outlets that couldn’t be papered over. Humans have an affinity for nature, Hageseth tells us very seriously, the difference between a real forest and a wallpaper forest in a psych clinic being minimal.

He’s even put a picture of a bird on the ceiling of the room where the patients are anesthetized so they can have a more pleasant experience of losing consciousness just before shock. Watch out: if this catches on for tonsillectomies, they too might shed their stigma.

The next way Hageseth thought of to show his consideration for the patients whose brains he is about to burn is to offer them a choice in paper gowns: they can have their unconscious bodies covered in a pattern of brightly colored balloons, Bugs Bunny, or Tweety and Sylvester.

The video pointlessly has one of Hageseth’s employees, a burly gray-bearded social worker named Al, “act” as a shock patient in order to demonstrate the gowns, the IV, the heart monitors, and so on. Al’s acting style is strictly tongue in cheek, and he doesn’t look too good in balloons. Perhaps he should have chosen Tweety.

To Al’s credit, when Hageseth asks him if he can touch his wrists (wrist-touching being meant to signify “compassion”), Al doesn’t smirk.

Later, an actual patient, a fifty-ish woman named Jan Law, is filmed just prior to, and in the process of, getting shocked.

“Tell us about the teddy bears,” Hageseth encourages, and Jan explains how she used to be scared of shock until she began taking a stuffed bear in with her to the shock room. She then tells us that, after getting Hageseth’s permission, she began passing out teddy bears to his other shock patients. She’s also seen in a roomful of them queued up for shock, praying with and for them.

One who has been watching this video up to this point, who has never had shock or even heard of it, might reasonably be confused by the double message. If shock’s so wonderful, (we celebrate it, call it “an honoring of the soul” and make commemorative videos of ourselves having it so we can watch it over and lover like a child’s first steps) then why is everyone so scared? Why are they praying if there’s no danger? Why must fifty year olds resort to clutching childhood toys?

The answer won’t be found anywhere in the video; it is willfully, perhaps skillfully, but very maliciously, left out. There is no doubt that Christian Hageseth knows that shock causes permanent memory loss (always) and permanent cognitive damage (frequently) resulting in a net personal loss that can be life-crippling or life-ending. I know this because of my personal communications with him. We know it because he admits on the video that it happened to his own mother. Yet the video assures us that there is absolutely no danger in getting shock. For some reason, (cowardice, fear of lawsuits?) Hageseth enlists another psychiatrist from Colorado named Steven Dubovsky, whom he calls an expert, but who has no special qualifications, in a set-up “question and answer” session where Dubovsky mouths the party line of the American Psychiatric Association.

Viewers are not told that all the research he cites — for example, the article claiming shock treatment improves rather than damages memory,, or the one which claims a woman who had over 1,000 shocks showed no brain damage on autopsy — was done by members of the APA’s small “Task Force” on shock. They are men who have made a career out of doing and/or promoting it and who either own or have lucrative financial deals with the companies that make the shock machines. These men invented and popularized the theory, cited by Dubovsky, that all the people who complain about shock do so because they are just crazy and are imagining memory loss where none exists.

Oh yes. did I mention that these guys also get fat fees like $6,000 a day for saying these things in court?

Dubovsky has obviously been well coached, and he’s tricky. He sounds scientific and could convince — intends to convince — those who don’t know what he’s leaving out or lying about. He says “the only physical risk with ECT is the risk associated with brief general anesthesia. There’s no increased risk for the ECT itself.”

Funny, but people don’t die of brief general anesthesia at the rate they die from ECT (approximately 1 in 200), and brief general anesthesia doesn’t usually cause brain hemorrhaging, cardiac arrest, or forgetting things like your name or how to read. Later on, he says “any brain damage that you get is probably from not breathing during the treatment — not the ECT itself.” Then he corrects himself, using a semantic trick he’s learned from the APA: “There is no credible evidence of credible damage to the brain.”

I think he messed up and meant to say no credible evidence of objective damage to the brain. See how easy this is: you simply discount all the evidence that does exist which is unfavorable to ECT as not “credible” or “objective.” They you’re not really lying. Just to be safe, though, it’s wise to cross your fingers behind your back while you say this.

Hageseth then brings out his obedient patient, Jan Law, and her husband and adult children. Jan wears a big red bow in her hair and begins every sentence with “Gosh!” Hageseth feeds her questions designed to elicit the answers he wants, mostly about how bad depression is. The family complains about what a bad housewife Jan was when she wasn’t getting shocked.

“I had to make all the meals,” the husband whines.

“I was pretty bitter because we all ended up doing a lot of the housework, a lot of chores. It was an embarrassment to me,” says the daughter. they all laugh in relief that shock has made Jan a better housewife. It is eerily reminiscent of HC Tien and his bottle-sucking “Electro-Love” patients. Hageseth gives Jan “maintenance” shock, which means one shock every month or so. In maintenance, which has never been researched, the brain never has a chance to heal before being zapped again. The patient is essentially maintained in a constant state of organic brain syndrome. As anyone who’s had shock knows, when you are organic, you will do or say anything. Most survivors have stories about things they can’t remember doing and can’t believe they did. It is during this time that patients may thank their doctors for saving their lives, or are easily persuaded to talk other patients into shock. Later, as the acute organic brain syndrome wears off, the person comes to realize the extent of her memory and cognitive losses and feels very differently about her treatment. It is fair to say that *anyone* interviewed during or right after shock, would feel well, even euphoric, as a result of brain damage and would say anything a doctor asked.

We then see Jan actually getting her maintenance shock, and the teddy bear is there from start to finish. She’s wearing the same clothes as in the interview and it’s not clear whether the interview was before or after. Her family watches and then is given the printout from her EEG as a souvenir. The last we see of her she’s being supported by her husband as she walks to her car, a gray-haired woman with a red hair bow, still clutching a teddy bear.

If you are a shock survivor, or know one, it’s enough to make you cry, or puke. The description I’ve given isn’t sufficient to explain the effect the video has on survivors. When I first watched it, I screamed loud enough to scare my dog. Others who have seen it have laughed hysterically.

You actually have to see the video to experience how much worse it is than it sounds. There’s a pompous pseudo-religiosity to the way it’s presented, from the opening strains of Amazing Grace, to Hageseth’s quotes from Buber, and his prodding Jan to say that shock improved her spiritual life, to the end where Amazing Grace comes back on while Hageseth, wearing fuzzy slippers, reads his own godawful poetry about suicide while a blazing log is superimposed over his face. You get the sense that his purpose is to elevate ECT from a treatment to a sacrament.

His high, whiny voice doesn’t help. Throughout, he’s so deadly serious he’s like a cross between a Sunday morning televangelist and Mr. Rogers — patronizing you while trying to sell you something. Come on kids, can you say “Scrambled brains are big money?”

Even this is not enough to explain why the video is not only so viscerally horrifying, but so morally reprehensible. The tape transcends silly self-promotion, even the commonplace deception-for-profit of other tapes. If it were just another commercial for shock, we’d sigh and deconstruct its lies. It would just be evil. Evil that pretends to be good becomes evil in a new and worse way. Something that truly is sacred has been vilified.

Like compassion. Hageseth wants to trademark it while turning it into its opposite. There is a true “honoring of the soul” (as Hageseth calls shock), and there is real compassion, and it has nothing to do with teddy bears, or wrist touching, or cartoon gowns. It involves allowing people to make their own decisions and control their own lives. The teddy bears are nothing but a gesture of contempt, a statement that Hageseth doesn’t consider his patients adult enough to be trusted with truthful information about shock, or to make up their own minds about it. After all, if they were allowed to do this, they might make a decision the grown-ups (doctors) don’t agree with. Like children, they must be protected for their own good by the adults who really know what’s good for them. Perhaps Hageseth is a kind of marketing genius to make the connection between deceiving patients and infantilizing them. Perhaps he’ll make a fortune welling these videos at $80 each. Like any crime, this video does leave the survivor or sophisticated viewer searching for a motive: Why did he do this? I don’t think it’s just money: I think it’s simpler and more pathetic. Why else go into such detail about his mother, in the video and also on his web site? Chris was only five years old, a terrified little boy, when the doctors dragged his mommy off to the mental hospital and shocked her. When she returned, Hageseth tells us in his Mr. Rogers fashion, she didn’t remember who he was. She had permanent memory loss and was bitter about it for the rest of her life. But like Tien’s women, he says she did eventually function in the way she was expected to.

Now it’s impossible to avoid the conclusion that the big Chris is shocking the hell out of his mother each time he presses the button. When he looms over Jan in the recovery room, is he hoping she will wake up, or hoping she won’t? Either way, he is now the one in control of what most scared him.

Does Hageseth hate his mommy or love her? Oooh, that’s getting into mental quicksand that Hageseth should not have tried to drag the general public into. It’s not pretty. I don’t know what Freud would say, but my take on it is that the video’s the ultimate act of passive aggression towards his poor brain-damaged mother. Kind of like saying “I love you,” while stabbing the knife into the back, getting back at her for not recognizing him when he was little and needed her. But no matter what he’s symbolically doing to his mother with his “compassionate ECT” scheme, there should be no doubt that he knows exactly how much he’s screwing other patients and their families. I imagine him and his crew doubled over laughing between takes, saying to each other, “I can’t believe we’re getting away with this! There’s a sucker born every minute!”

He’s laughing all the way to the bank.

Man sues psychiatrist for breaking up marriage

By Steve Porter
The Coloradoan
1998

A Fort Collins psychiatrist is being sued in Larimer District Court for contributing to the end of a marriage by establishing a friendship with a patient that grew into a sexual relationship.

Christian Hageseth III is being sued by Paul Burson for professional negligence, breach of fiduciary duty and outrageous conduct. The lawsuit, which is being heard by a six-person jury, does not ask for specific damages.

Burson claims Hageseth’s treatment of his wife, Laurel, eventually resulted in Hageseth and Laurel Burson forming a sexual relationship and Laurel Burson filing for divorce.

The parties in the lawsuit disagree over several significant points, including when Laurel Burson’s therapy with Hageseth ended and when the sexual relationship began.

Hageseth, in one court document, claimed the therapy ended in July 1995. But another document indicates he treated Laurel Burson from 1988 and “into July 1996.”

Hageseth admitted in a pretrial deposition that he first had sex with Laurel Burson in June 1996.

Colorado state law, adopted in 1993, forbids medical providers from having a sexual relationship with a patient until six months after the end of treatment. Violating the law is a felony.

Also in dispute is whether Paul Burson should be considered a patient of Hageseth and thereby deserving of protection from harm resulting from a therapist’s actions.

Burson claims to have been a Hageseth client, visiting his office numerous times over a period of several years primarily in conjunction with his wife’s treatment.

But Hageseth claims Paul Burson was never a client, that he was never treated as a patient and was never personally billed for his services. Dr. Jon Bell, director of the anxiety and depression clinic at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Denver, testified Monday as an expert witness for Burson. He said he believed Paul Burson was Hageseth’s client. Bell said Hageseth’s actions should have been foreseen as detrimental to the Bursons as co-clients.

“Dr. Hageseth was aware of Mr. Burson’s desire to continue his relationship, and Dr. Hageseth forming a relationship with Miss Burson made it foreseeable that an injury was likely to Mr. Burson,” Bell said. ‘if the therapist acted as a marriage counselor, both patients, husband and wife, were unquestionably patients of that therapist.”

A four-man, two-woman jury received the case late Monday and will return today to resume deliberations.