Accused MHMR director quits
Associated Press
Doctor target of complaint against electroshock therapy

AUSTIN (AP) -- A doctor accused by a human rights organization of misrepresenting electroshock therapy as a safe and effective treatment for severe depression has announced his resignation as medical director of the Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation.

Dr. William Reid's resignation, announced Monday, is effective Feb. 15. He has served as the agency's first chief physician for almost seven years. A press release issued by MHMR said Reid plans to expand his private practice of civil and criminal forensic psychiatry. MHMR officials did not immediately return telephone calls from The Associated Press Monday.

In September, Reid was the target of a complaint filed by the Citizens Commission on Human Rights of Texas. The commission says electroshock therapy, sometimes called shock treatment, is unsafe, barbaric and should be banned.

Reid has said the treatment makes life bearable for many severely depressed people with suicidal tendencies.

Electroshock treatment induces a seizure and accompanying convulsions in patients. The seizures, induced by short bursts of electricity coursing through the brain, are similar to epileptic seizures.

"It is hoped that his resignation will usher in a new era of competence and responsibility at MHMR," said Jerry Boswell, director of the citizens commission.

Diana Loper, who underwent electroshock therapy and now works with a group known as the Wellness Council to ban the treatment, said she welcomed Reid's resignation.

MHMR's press release said Reid's tenure "was marked by several successes."

"The number of TXMHMR physicians has increased significantly," the release said. "Most are trained and recognized in specialties such as psychiatry. ... Professionalism among clinicians of all types has been enhanced."

William Reid is now shopping himself out as an expert witness.