Today's Headlines

Memory and cognitive effects of ECT: informing and assessing patients
Article in British journal reviews patient reports and new national (UK) guidelines, plus sets recommendations for assessment of retrograde amnesia.

New ECT guidelines issued in UK

New Study: Cognitive impairment after maintenance ECT

1st Person Project - add your ECT story to this history project.

Who is on the new Shock Doc Roster?

The issue of forced electroshock

The idea of forced electroshock is too frightening for many people to accept. But it does happen, and most of the time, you'll never hear about it. Most people who are forcibly electroshocked don't know they can fight, or they simply don't know how. And sadly, most people don't have the money to fight back - it can be expensive.

If you or a loved one are being threatened with forced electroshock, click here for information on fighting back.

Forced ECT *does* happen in civilized society. It is not a fiction novel, or a product of an overactive imagination. Because statistics keeping regarding ECT is nonexistent but in a few states, it's hard to know exactly how many people are being electroshocked against their wills. (And even estimates of force do not take into account the many people who are coerced, thinking they have no choice but to submit.)

Here are the most recent cases of forced ECT, where the person (and/or family) decided to fight back. These are only some of the cases where the media took an interest.

United Kingdom

ECT case halted

Patient challenges forced electroshocks

Hundreds given ECT without consent, government admits

British Columbia

Latest updates on Michael Matthews.

Michael Matthews, age 70, receives ECT against his will every Friday. He needs your help!


Findings in a court case in Minnesota Michigan

Ben Hansen, member of the Department of Community Health Recipient Rights Advisory Committee, submitted this report concerning Michigan law. Michigan law states that a person may not receive involuntary ECT if s/he has no guardian, but probate judges in the state are ignoring the law. This report details cases where the probate judge violated state law in issuing orders that would allow involuntary ECT. Says the author, "Consent laws are made a mockery by judges who rule that individuals are competent when they consent to treatment, but incompetent when they refuse treatment."

Paul Henri Thomas, New York

Pilgrim Hospital on Long Island, NY is at it again. This time the subject of forced electroshock is Haitian immigrant Paul Henri Thomas. The New York Office of Mental Health and Executive Director Alan Weinstock are playing ugly roles in this drama.

For the latest status on Paul Henri's case, check here. This will change as new legal wrenches are tossed into the mix.

Anne Krauss reports that Justice Hall is reserving judgement.

Linda Andre writes an extensive account of the hearings, highlighting the Catch-22 of the entire situation. Damned if you do, damned if you don't. And Paul Henri was the loser.
"As long as patients and doctors disagree about the nature, risks and benefits of ECT, and as long as doctors get to define the "right" answers to these questions, everyone is at risk of forced ECT. Persons who have previously had ECT, know about it from personal experience, and will not deny what they know to be true, are most at risk."

Newsday has done a great job in covering Paul Henri's story. Additionally, they seem to be covering the legal proceedings.

Suffolk Life: Thomas fights for patients' rights.

A New York radio station will be airing weekly updates (Monday evenings, Frank and Friends on Innersight) until Paul Henri is free. If you miss them, I'm archiving them here.

ECT hearings in NYC: Assemblyman Martin A. Luster (D-125th), Chair of the NYS Assembly Mental Health Committee, has announced a statewide Assembly hearing on ECT. If you would like to testify, fill out the form and mail it to his office. Details.

Radio talk show host Gary Null organized a protest to bring attention to the Paul Henri Thomas case, as well as all involuntary treatment. A report from Rita De Carlo of Mind Aid. New protest set for June 26, 2001.

Five new bills have been introduced into the New York State Assembly as a result of the continuing outcry in New York. In addition, new hearings are scheduled for July 18, 2001.

News coverage:
New York Daily News: Shock Method Eyed
New York Post: Callous shock docs zap holes in people's lives
Angry Pol Would Rein in Zap-Hapy State Shock Docs
Dad's Rights Zapped by the Shock Docs
Electroshock turns Hillside to Hellside

Kathleen Garrett, St. Louis

It happened to Kathleen Garrett of St. Louis in summer, 2000. The public battled back to stop this assault. Mrs. Garrett did NOT want the ECT, nor did her son, a licensed social worker. Mrs. Garrett went up against Tenet Healthcare Corporation, one of the largest healthcare operations in the nation (and one with an exceptionally ugly history), and stood strong against their continued harassment. They eventually threatened this website with legal action. Read more of this alarming story.

Adam Szyszko, New York

A young man in New York state faces forced ECT. Public battles back.

The New York Post responds with an editorial.

Mom in tears as docs "treat" captive son - more on Adam's case from the NY Post.

Sister continues to fight...

Lucille Austwick, Chicago

The case of Lucille Austwick, an octogenarian from Illinois who refused ECT, set the stage for a legal battle. "If the doctors are so interested in doing these kinds of treatments, they should do them to themselves."

Read a transcript about this case from National Public Radio

Other cases of forced ECT

Sadly, most occasions of forced ECT simply don't make the news. They happen quickly, before the patient has time to fight back. Here are some of the cases that did make the news....

Toronto mother launches appeal to stop ECT on her daughter.

Rocker Michelle Shocked was forcibly treated.

Dad's Rights Zapped by the Shock Docs

Electroshock turns Hillside to Hellside

Alarming stats from the UK
As campaigners protest about mental patients being treated against their will, Sally Weale asks why so many women are still coerced into electro-convulsive therapy.

New stats from New York state
According to this state survey, forty percent of ECT patients receive ECT under a court order. Outrageous!

And the many more you won't hear about because they couldn't go public, or lost the will to fight.....may God bless each and every one of you.

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