Tag Archives: human/ inhuman behavior
Cherry trees in bloom at Oregon State Hospital (click for full size, as usual)
Other news from OSH:
I apologize for offering this awful, terrible video. I am ashamed of my country, “the most powerful nation in the history of the world”.
Description from the website:
“a classified US military video depicting the indiscriminate slaying of over a dozen people in the Iraqi suburb of New Baghdad — including two Reuters news staff. Reuters has been trying to obtain the video through the Freedom of Information Act, without success since the time of the attack. The video, shot from an Apache helicopter gun-site, clearly shows the unprovoked slaying of a wounded Reuters employee and his rescuers. Two young children involved in the rescue were also seriously wounded.”
Why am I posting this? It’s because it’s reality. We live in a world where humans do incredibly inhuman things to one another. We imagine we have a “civilization”. Watch this and tell me the value of our civilization. It isn’t like we haven’t been told, that we haven’t been given instruction in finding a different path.
As a Quaker, I embrace non-violence because I know that the God-Christ-Essence is in every on of us; that killing people is an offense against the God of every religion.
More from The Nation (excerpt):
“Well, it’s their fault bringing their kids to a battle.”
Those words, spoken by a faceless soldier, echo from a classified US military video released by the site Wikileaks.org. The release comes on the heels of the revelation of a cover-up in Afghanistan–and the anniversary of the death of Dr. Martin Luther King, as well as the anniversary of his “Beyond Vietnam” speech.
King spoke to the Clergy and Laity Concerned about Vietnam, saying “It should be incandescently clear that no one who has any concern for the integrity and life of America today can ignore the present war. If America’s soul becomes totally poisoned, part of the autopsy must read Vietnam.”
Hearing allegations that special forces troops in Afghanistan may have dug the bullets out of their pregnant victims bodies to hide evidence, hearing airmen on the Wikileaks tape begging “Come on, let us shoot!” and hearing the editor of Wikileaks say that the shooters talked in the way that people do when they’re playing video games–it reminded me of King’s words.
You can write this off as some isolated mistake- go ahead. “Things happen in a war”, right? These things are unacceptable under any circumstances.
I cannot help but believe that if we spent a fraction of the money, resources (and blood?) on finding ways to live in a world without war, we could manage to end this insanity. Now we have the brightest, most accomplished, most technologically superior people on earth working 24 hours a day to invent better ways to kill other humans. We can do better.
We need to do better. War is not the answer. Find another way, by God.
Excuse me while I go throw up.
I just had a birthday last week. I was born in 1955, 55 years ago.That makes me 5,555 years old! Below is a twenty dollar bill in circulation at the time of my birth.
(click for full size, as usual; you know I never skimp on picture size-always the biggest pictures here at moonsoup!)
Enjoy! or not.
Okay, some of the Mozart promised in the title:
So, this is an odd time of year for me. My birthday last weekend, April 11th will be my older son’s 25th birthday (he’s coming to visit from SF this weekend- riding the dog, ought to arrive by tomorrow morning), and smack in the middle of these things is the anniversary of my oldest/ youngest child’s death- April 6th. I often dread this time of year- if I’m going to be symptomatic mental health wise, this is the time I would do it. These days, however, I’m not expecting badness. She has mellowed in my heart. I experience her as a kind, gentle angel of death; reminding me of the preciousness in each moment. Thank you Erin.
Here’s a doodle by Andrew, the oldest living child,
and one of the most coolest people I know.
One of our cats- Blizzard, has been suffering from glaucoma for years, gradually going blind. Last month she had surgery to remove her eyes- it’s called “enucleation“. Anyway, these are some shots of her recuperation. By the way, she’s doing great. She’s way more comfortable and happy and since she’s been blind for a while she has no trouble finding her way around. My younger son paid for the surgery- over $1000- because he is also a really great guy. Blizz gets the cone off her head later today.
Here’s Blizzard today, sans cone head,
in the arms of my youngest son.
The Jupiter Symphony is one of my favorite Mozart compositions-
I wrote a while back, I think, about the death of a patient at Oregon State Hospital where I work. The Oregonian newspaper just did it’s first major story about it (better late than never).
From the article linked above:
The body of Moises Perez, 42, was discovered in this bed located just to the left of the door of a room he shared with four other men. The Oregon State Hospital patient had been dead several hours before he was discovered during evening medication checks.
Below- some great pictures of/ from the ESO Paranal Observatory in Chile, high in the Andes. The top picture is a full-sky, 360 degree panorama. The other pictures are of the observatory itself in summer and winter.
Richard Harris is the state Director of Addictions and Mental Health. He wrote this to the Oregon Consumer Survivor Coalition, our primary collective voice as survivors of the Mental Hell treatment system. I don’t know if it’s serious or comic relief. Time will tell. Anyone can yak yak yak.
From: “Richard HARRIS” <email@example.com>
Date: 18 March 2010 12:14:23 PM PDT
Subject: Re: Consumer Voice—-REVISED MEMO
DATE: March 18, 2010
TO: All AMH Staff
FROM: Richard L. Harris
RE: Consumer voice
Over the past several months I have had the opportunity to meet with
many people representing many mental health consumer groups. From
these meetings it has become clear to me that there is a need for
increased consumer voice within local and state government. Len and I
recently met with the Oregon Consumer Survivor Coalition (OCSC) and
together we have identified four ways by which consumer voice can be
1. Increased public education on addiction and mental health issues;
2. Increased training for those providing addiction and mental
3. Continued and increased peer support services and;
4. Supporting and promoting an independent voice in the addictions
and mental health consumer community.
My initial commitment to increase consumer voice and to support and
promote peer delivered services will be for AMH to provide phone and
video support to the upcoming strategic planning summit sponsored by
OCSC. The summit will identify a clear pathway to establishing a
formal mechanism to support consumer voice statewide. In addition
Oregon’s Olmstead Plan calls for increased consumer participation in
all aspects of transition from residential facilities to independent
living with people having a key to their own home with access to
addiction and mental health services when needed.
To further consumer voice and increase consumer visibility in the
community, OCSC will reach out to the addictions community and attend
and participate in the OHA/DHS statewide budget forums scheduled
around the state later this spring.
These are important first steps in creating a solid foundation to
promote consumer voice and visibility within local communities and
local and state government. I look forward to continuing dialogue with
the OCSC and others to develop a highly visible and robust consumer
voice as part of AMH and the developing OHA.
Richard L. Harris
Addictions and Mental Health Division
500 Summer St NE E-86
Salem, OR 97301-1118
Heads up: may contain graphic violence–
By the way, you can’t outrun a Samurai!
My personal favorite by Mozart, his unfinished “requiem”. This is the whole shebang, huge file, high quality-
A couple weekends back my wife and I went hiking at Catherine Creek to look at the first wildflowers of spring. You get there by going to Hood River, Oregon, crossing the troll bridge (don’t look! you’ll turn to stone!) into Washington, driving east through the town of Bingen, Washington and at the second roadside lake take the old state road that climbs the hill. You’ll know you’re there when you get to it. There are a few waves of wildflowers that bloom and pass relatively quickly in the stony volcanic earth. By now there’s a whole new batch. By the middle of April they’ll almost all be gone. I hope we get back up there before the end of the season.
Mozart plays the bassoon!
Bye for now, have a great day.
I have been so completely swamped by events and work so far this decade that it has been difficult to keep y’ll updated, inspired or entertained. So, today I resolve to correct this problem. At least a little bit.
March 19-26, Romero Legacy Delegation to El Salvador
March 24, 2010 marks the 30th anniversary of the assassination of Monseñor Oscar Romero, Archbishop of El Salvador, on the orders of a graduate of the School of the Americas. SOA Watch and Father Roy Bourgeous will be leading a delegation to El Salvador to commemorate this individual who died fighting for the rights of the common folk in that country.
If you are interested in learning more about Oscar Romero and go here:
More blogging on Bishop Romero: http://annaarcosdiary.wordpress.com/2009/11/08/archbishop-romeros-murder/
For even more about Romero:
Friday night is MLBM- Mad Radio
And we have especially good reasons to be mad this week. Portland police have shown how they handle people in crisis once again. This week, police killed a man who was suicidal following the death of his brother that same day.
Police said Frashour shot and killed Aaron Marcell Campbell only after Campbell began making statements to officers that they were going to have to shoot him and behaved in a threatening manner.
According to a news release, Campbell had told a friend that he wanted to commit suicide by having the police shoot him.
The shooting followed by less than 12 hours the death of Campell’s brother, Timothy Douglass, who succumbed to heart failure at an area hospital.
Campbell’s mother, Marva Campbell, said Campbell was “distraught” about his brother’s death.
The mother was distraught. I’d think so after losing 2 children in one day. What else did the police say about this?
Police said the man came out after 6 p.m. and initially cooperated. But they said Campbell then stopped complying and told officers would have to shoot him. Wheat said an officer first fired beanbag rounds but when Campbell “acted threateningly,” Frashour shot him with an AR-15 rifle.
For the police information release, you can go here.
As long as we’re on my home town, Shock (Electro Convulsive Therapy, ECT) is alive and well in Portland, Oregon. At least we are not alone.
In modern ECT, the patient is sedated and paralyzed. Then an electrical charge is delivered through the scalp, inducing a seizure. Because of the muscle-relaxing drugs, the convulsion is barely observable.
Judi Chamberin dies at age 65
Metabolic risks remain largely unmonitored in Medicaid patients taking
antipsychotics* January 4th, 2010 in Medicine & Health / Medications
*Despite government warnings and professional recommendations about diabetes risks associated with second-generation antipsychotic drugs, fewer than one-third of Medicaid patients who are treated with these medications
undergo tests of blood glucose or lipid levels, according to a report in the
January issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives
In 2003, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) began requiring a warning on labels of second-generation antipsychotics-including olanzapine, fluoxetine and risperidone-describing an increased risk for high blood sugar and diabetes, according to background information in the article. The warning
stated that glucose levels should be monitored in patients with diabetes, at
risk for the disease or with symptoms of high blood glucose. At the same
time, the American Diabetes Association and American Psychiatric Association published a consensus statement describing the metabolic risks associated with second-generation antipsychotics and specifying a monitoring protocol for all patients receiving these medications.
Elaine H. Morrato, Dr.P.H., M.P.H., of the University of Colorado Denver,
and colleagues studied laboratory claims data from the Medicaid population
of three states (California, Missouri and Oregon) between 2002 and 2005.
Metabolic testing (testing of blood glucose and lipid levels) rates were
compared between a group of 109,451 patients receiving second-generation
antipsychotics and a control group of 203,527 who began taking albuterol (an
asthma drug) but not an antipsychotic. Rates were also compared before and
after the FDA warning.
Initial testing rates for patients treated with second-generation
antipsychotics were low-27 percent underwent glucose testing and 10 percent underwent lipid testing. The FDA warning was not associated with any
increase in glucose testing and only a marginal increase in lipid testing
rates (1.7 percent). “Testing rates and trends in second-generation
antipsychotic-treated patients were not different from background rates
observed in the albuterol control group,” the authors write.
New prescriptions of olanzapine, which carries a higher metabolic risk,
declined during the warning period. Prescriptions of the lower-risk drug
aripiprazole increased, but this may also be attributable to the elimination
of prior authorization for the drug in California during the same timeframe.
“Although this retrospective study was not able to identify or quantify
reasons why laboratory screening did not increase after the FDA warnings,
whereas prescribing practices did change, we might speculate on some
possible explanations,” the authors write. Switching to lower-risk drugs or
avoiding drug treatment altogether may be simpler than the initiation of new
screening procedures. In addition, although surveys have shown that
psychiatrists are aware of the metabolic risk factors of these drugs,
primary care providers who would generally order the necessary laboratory
tests may not be.
“More effort is needed to ensure that patients who receive second-generation
antipsychotic drugs are screened for diabetes and dyslipidemia and monitored for potential adverse drug effects, beginning with baseline testing of serum glucose and lipids, so that patients can receive appropriate preventive care and treatment,” the authors conclude.
*More information:* Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2010;67:17-24.
Did I happen to mention that Friday night, tomorrow, 2/5/10 at 1 am (I know that this is technically Saturday the 6th but- hey, give me a break, it’s only radio, right?)?
As always, we’ll be on KBOO, 90.7 FM in Portland or streamed on the web at kboo.fm. You can join the conversation- Call 503-231-8187 between 1 and 2 am Friday night.
You can also find our old shows (at least for the past year or so) by clicking the MLBM tab above.
Another thing you can find on Moonsoup today, if you haven’t had time to check out the secret pages, is this memorial to those of us with mental illness diagnosis who have died too young. Go here.
Now for Something Completely Different
Bye for now, happy new year and such.
(really big space picture below, click for full size- it’s the Subaru observatory (ESA) deep field view of the “Jewel Box”.
Playing with Hugh
Or, rather, hue (and contrast, and saturation etc.). All these taken in the past week or two. Click for real size, which is big, btw.
I call this one “very close to fall”.
“General Pictures, Sir!”
MindFreedom Oregon News Alert – Please Forward
MindFreedom International News – 22 October 2009
Ray Alert #22 – Unite for Real Mental Health Advocacy
http://www.mindfreedom.org/ray – please forward
Today is Victory Day for Ray Sandford!
No More Forced Electroshock for Ray, Ever!
Today, Ray Sandford of Minnesota phoned the MindFreedom office with
some very good news:
It is official.
After more than 40 involuntary, outpatient electroshocks (also known
as electroconvulsive therapy or ECT), Ray has won.
The court agreed to his change of guardianship. Ray’s new guardians
support his right to say “no” to intrusive procedures such as
Ray made this comment for MindFreedom International members and
supporters, who have backed his campaign for almost exactly one year.
“I’m a bit overwhelmed. This is wonderful! I’m very thankful. Without
your help I probably would still be sitting somewhere getting more
forced electroshock. So thanks a lot to and your group. Praise and
thank the Lord, amen!”
Said David Oaks, Director of MindFreedom International, “Ray’s courage
and laser focus led to a campaign that proves the ‘mad movement’ is
alive and well. The sheer level of people power had to break through.
I know some feel discouraged by the immense oppression of sanism.
Think of Ray. There is an ancient Persian saying: ‘No one is tired on
THE SHORT STORY OF RAY’S VICTORY DAY
MindFreedom is encouraging all of Ray’s supporters to celebrate this
week, especially this Tuesday, 27 October 2009.
One year ago this week, on 27 October 2008, Ray Sandford first phoned
up the MindFreedom office. He had asked his local library about
organizations that support human rights in mental health. The
reference librarian gave him MindFreedom’s phone number.
Ray phoned up the MindFreedom office. He said that every Wednesday
morning he was escorted from his group home to a hospital for another
involuntary forced electroshock, under court order.
MindFreedom International investigated and kicked off a public
campaign that became global. Issuing 21 alerts, MindFreedom’s campaign
activated thousands of people who peacefully but passionately
contacted elected officials, held protests, mailed Ray stationery
supplies, won extensive media coverage, visited him, and much, much
more. At least one elected official said they felt ‘inundated.’
But MindFreedom also found that Ray’s oppression was systemic and deep.
MindFreedom volunteers identified and listed on the MFI web site more
than 30 agencies and individuals receiving taxpayer money to
supposedly help Ray. Only a few agencies helped Ray, and most actually
opposed his rights. Because MFI’s web site is so popular, many of
those who oppressed Ray can “Google themselves” and discover their MFI
listing near the top.
Ray’s last forced electroshock was on USA tax day, 15 April 2009.
By coincidence the 15th of April was also the date of the very first
forced electroshock, back in 1938 in Italy, when the subject cried out:
“Non una seconda! Mortifierel” which means in Italian, “Not another!
On 13 May 2009, Ray was escorted all the way to a hospital bed. He was
prepped for another forced electroshock. Because of outrage, hospital
authorities cancelled Ray’s shock at the last second, and he was sent
More victories quickly followed.
Ray’s psychiatrist quit because he said his insurance company was
concerned about all the public attention. MindFreedom helped Ray find
a new psychiatrist supportive of Ray’s human rights.
Ray’s family joined in the campaign. MindFreedom organized a YouTube
video with Ray and his Mom, begging for the shock to end. Ray’s
guardians, an agency under the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
(ELCA), tried to stop the video from going public, but it got ought.
Ray’s family found a better attorney. Ray found great pleasure in
firing his ineffective court-appointed attorney.
Several concerned Minnesota agencies formed an “ECT Work Group” to
change the law in Minnesota. Two MindFreedom representatives serve on
the committee, but are asking for more than just minor reform.
“SINGLE, SMALL VOICE IN THE FACE OF A MEDICAL GIANT.”
And today, Ray’s final victory is in place: Ray successfully replaced
his general guardians who had supported his forced electroshock.
One of Ray’s new guardians, Daryl Trones, announced:
“MindFreedom has just won a substantial victory! Today I received an
‘Acceptance of Appointment” from Ramsey County District Court
regarding the changing of guardianship for Ray Sandford. Ray no longer
will be subject to ECT treatments. The powers of Successor
Guardianship include the power to ‘withhold consent for treatment of
service, including neuroleptic / psychotropic medications,’ under
Minnesota Statute 524.5-314.”
Daryl, Ray and his family want to thank all of Ray’s many supporters.
Said Daryl, “My appreciation to all the MindFreedom members and
volunteers and especially to David Oaks who orchestrated requisite
forces and passions to pull Ray Sandford from harm’s way. MindFreedom
now bas a successful case study outlining the necessary steps to
extricate persons subject to forced electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).
Congratulation to MindFreedom Staff and Members and most of all to Ray
Sandford who one year ago was just a single, small voice in the face
of a medical giant.”
Supporters should finally be able to postal mail to Ray Sandford
directly without delay.
You may postal mail your congratulations to Ray here:
4427 Monroe St.
Columbia Heights, MN 55421-2880 USA
You can read the history of Ray’s successful campaign at:
Utne Reader magazine periodically names “50 Visionaries Who Are
Changing Your World.”
A psychiatric survivor activist is named as one of these visionaries
in Utne’s November/ issue, which hits the stands now:
David W. Oaks, Director of , an independent
nonprofit for human rights and alternatives in mental health.
Utne’s listing of David Oaks also zings ABC-TV’s recent national news
coverage of the “mad pride movement,” which has been widely criticized
For Utne’s listing of David Oaks, and to make a public comment, go here:
or use this link:
For Utne’s entire list of 2009 visionaries, starting with the Dalai
Lama who is on the cover, go here:
or use this link:
Said David Oaks, “Utne is one of the few media leaders to acknowledge
the ‘mad movement’ to deeply change the . Utne’s
recognition is really of our whole movement’s vision. This shows we
are still connected to all the other movements for social and
environmental justice, just as when our movement first started. Can we
have a nonviolent revolution now?”
Another Suspicious Death Inside Oregon State Hospital
According to the below MindFreedom Oregon Exclusive Report, another
psychiatric patient died inside Oregon State Hospital in Salem, Oregon
under suspicious circumstances on Saturday, 17 October 2009.
The man — known here as “Patient M” — had apparently been
complaining repeatedly for a month about chest pain, which staff had
allegedly dismissed because of his psychiatric diagnosis. Instead of
medical care, staff reportedly just gave him more psychiatric drugs.
After the patient died, the report says he was left undiscovered all
day by staff who were supposed to be checking on him regularly.
The below is based on several anonymous reports from patients on ward
50F with access to telephones, who took great risk to speak out.
Because of a long pattern of abuse and neglect in Oregon State
Hospital (OSH), this information is offered immediately in the public
interest, but has not yet been investigated by authorities. Each
allegation needs to be investigated before confirmation.
At the bottom are ways you can speak out to demand an investigation,
and also demand support for a state-wide voice for Oregon’s mental
health consumers and psychiatric survivors.
Patients supplying this news did not ask to be anonymous but patients
at OSH have reported retaliation for getting information out in
public. For example, this past week a minimum security patient was
allegedly moved, in shackles, to a more restricted area after he spoke
with Salem reporters about his lawsuit against Oregon State Hospital.
MindFreedom calls on the Governor, the US Dept. of Justice and the
media to immediately investigate the below allegations, especially the
RED FLAGS marked in this report.
EXCLUSIVE REPORT to MindFreedom Oregon
“The medicine is not working.”
The Passing of “Patient M” on Ward 50F in Oregon State Hospital
Over one month ago, “Patient M” had a fellow patient — “R” — help
him write a special letter to the ward medical officer.
In the letter Patient M complained of his chest pain, stomach pain and
Instead of medical treatment for the chest pain, because of his
psychiatric diagnosis Patient M was given more psychiatric drugs as
staff felt he needed them, known in medicine as “PRN.” These
psychiatric drugs were often minor tranquilizers, usually Ativan
(lorazepam) or Klonopin (clonazepam). The psychiatric drugs were
administered whenever he complained of pain.
Two weeks ago, Patient M spoke directly to the Ward Medical Officer
and said that, “The medicine is not working.” He continued to complain
of chest and stomach pain with difficulty breathing. [RED FLAG] He
continued to be given “PRNs.” He was not given a pain reliever, heart
medication or any cardiac testing.
This past week, Patient M has told everyone on the ward who would
listen that he was in serious pain. Other patients were already very
worried about his health. He continued to receive tranquilizers when
Last Thursday and Friday — 15th and 16th of October — were
particularly bad. [RED FLAG]
Patients say it’s important to know that it is policy that all
patients be checked for “location and condition every hour.” For
example, in a widely-publicized escape a month ago, staff had not been
checking on the patient.
Saturday morning, 17 October 2009, Patient M got up for breakfast, and
he was known as a man who never misses a meal. Some said eating seemed
to be his greatest enjoyment, and he was always the first person to
get his food. Because he is sloppy, he got his food delivered to him
outside the kitchen.
At 8:30 am he was given his morning meds. He told the nurse that his
chest hurt “really bad” and he had trouble breathing. He was given his
usual psychiatric drug PRN.
Patient M went to lay down.
A nurse checked at 9:30 am and saw he was lying down. He seemed okay.
Patient M resided in a very over-crowded room typical of the “50
building” at OSH. A short time later one of his roommates said his
eyes were rolled back. “But sometimes he sleeps like that” because of
the PRNs, said one roommate.
No staff checked his condition for the rest of the morning. [RED FLAG]
Lunch on 50F is served between 11 am and 11:30 am. Staff brought his
tray down to his room. They called his name and there was no response,
even though it is well known that he always eats. [RED FLAG] Staff
left, and took his lunch back to the kitchen.
Mid-afternoon a roommate shook his foot to see if he’d wake up. There
was no response. No staff looked in on him to check his condition all
afternoon. [RED FLAG]
Dinner time, 4:30 pm, staff called into his room to announce the meal.
No response. Patient M did not get up for food. Staff did not bother
to bring a tray down for him. No staff checked him.
His roommates complained of the stench of “shit” in the room. This
odor was probably from the natural course of a person who is lying
dead for hours as their bowels evacuate. Staff still stayed out. [RED
Finally, at 7:45 pm OSH medication staff went to his room to give him
his evening pills. This time he was checked. He was so dead cold, no
attempt was made at resuscitation. Some patients believe he was in or
past rigor mortis at this point.
Between 7:45 and 8 pm, patient eye-witnesses allege several things
happened. The room was sealed. Staff were called into what one person
called a “bubble” to speak privately.
Based on patient reports: “It was quiet for a few minutes. Then the
staff became very active. We could see through the nurses’ station
windows that they were handling documents, making photocopies. We
heard one staff say, ‘We’ll need six more of those.’ Then we could see
staff shredding originals of documents they had just photocopied. By 8
pm things had returned to normal. The body was carried out later.”
Over the weekend Patient M’s soiled bed and personal area were left as
is in the crowded room. “The smell was unbelievable,” said one witness.
On Monday morning, 19 October 2009, two days after the death, at the
ward meeting, patients complained about the unsanitary conditions in
this room. Staff took out the bed, bedding and sanitized the area. As
of that evening there was no counseling about the death, and no extra
help provided to other patients on that ward.
No memorial was suggested until patients brought it up at the ward
Patients were questioned at the meeting about “What do you know?” and
“What will you report?” One patient referred to the meeting as an
Patients around the hospital heard about the death only by word of
Many are reportedly saddened.
Because of the request by patients, a memorial is planned.
– end –
ACTIONS * ACTIONS * ACTIONS
Please forward this alert to others who support human rights in mental
The Governor has not responded to e-mails. Please telephone.
PHONE GOVERNOR TED KULONGOSKI AT (503) 378-3111
In a civil but strong way, in your own words:
1) Ask the Governor to personally investigate suspicious deaths at
Oregon State Hospital.
2) Ask the Governor to support the state-wide voice of mental health
consumers and psychiatric survivors.
BACKGROUND on OSH & MORTALITY:
Oregon State Hospital has a long history of suspicious deaths.
OSH is nationally famous when its secret discolored copper canisters
were revealed that contain the ashes of some 5,121 patients who died
between 1913 and 1971. The identification of many of the patients is
See the Time Magazine article on Jan. 2009 about OSH ash cans here:
For more photos of the canisters go to this web site from July 2009:
or use this link:
Mortality and people in the mental health system continues to be a
national controversy today in the USA.
A major study by the National Association of State Mental Health
Program Directors showed that people who use the US public mental
health system die about 25 years earlier than the general public:
One possible reason provided in the study is the over-use of
psychiatric drugs, including multiple prescriptions, but this factor
is often omitted or downplayed by those in the mental health system
discussing these deaths.
Instead, the mental health system today is promoting “integration” of
physical and mental health as the answer to this mortality rate.
“Integration” is now a major buzz word in mental health.
Unfortunately, there’s no definition of this “integration.” Is this
the “integration” of psychiatric institutions into the community, as
mandated by the Olmstead Supreme Court decision? A draft of Oregon’s
plan to implement Olmstead does not emphasize the importance of
supporting the voice of mental health consumers and psychiatric
In some places this “integration” buzz word has simply meant increased
prescription rates of psychiatric drugs in clinics that had previously
focused on physical health. Sad about your heart condition? There may
be a psychiatric drug prescription waiting for you, too.
People with psychiatric labels continue to be among the most
How can this “power imbalance” change without a voice?
Since the exact month Governor Ted Kulongoski took office, Oregon
became one of the few USA states to provide zero — 0 — funding for
the state-wide voice of mental health consumers and psychiatric
survivors. For more than seven years, there has been zero state
funding for any of those activities — a newsletter, conference,
office of mental health consumer affairs.
During tough times, people with psychiatric labels are supposedly hit
hardest. That’s when we should be supporting the voice of mental
health consumers and psychiatric survivors the most.
However, apparently based on advice from his closest staff, Governor
Kulongoski continues to recommend zero for this state-wide voice each
You can read about the Governor’s legacy of “zero” for mental health
consumers and psychiatric survivors here:
1) PLEASE forward this covered-up news to all interested people.
2) PHONE GOVERNOR TED KULONGOSKI AT (503) 378-3111
Be civil and strong, ask for investigation of deaths at OSH, and for
his support of a state-wide voice for mental health consumers and
US Department of Justice (DOJ) is supposed to be investigating Oregon
In your own words, ask that all appropriate results of investigations
by DOJ of OSH be made public, and also be provided to you.
You can e-mail DOJ here:
Or for more DOJ contact info, go here:
You can also e-mail or postal mail Governor Kulongoski, contact info
Please also bring this to the attention of any interested media.
If you did not receive this alert directly from mindfreedom-oregon
news service, you can get on this free, public alert system here:
For more info about MindFreedom Oregon go here:
Autopsy was supposed to be done Friday- I have heard nothing. Key information would be stomach contents, since the hospital claimed he had all his meals that day (whereas eyewitnesses say he was left dead in his room all day).
From Librivox- free audio books
(click to play)
Have fun, be safe, eat as much candy as you want.
Oregon State Hospital has been in trouble for some time.
This from 2004, Oregon Bar Association-
State Hospital Needs Our Help
By Bob Joondeph
There is trouble at Oregon State Hospital. So what else is new? The Oregonian’s reports of sex-abuse and hush money in the 1990s may seem like old news, but the hospital’s problems are not: deteriorating buildings, some of which are over 100 years old; chronic over-crowding with patients sleeping in closets and seven to a room; chronic under-staffing with nursing, psychiatric and therapist positions remaining vacant for months and years. And don’t forget the 70-plus patients who have been found clinically ready to leave the hospital but can’t because of the lack of step-down community living arrangements. Despite recent efforts to bring relief, things are getting worse.
Why? One cause may be state budget cuts that have left thousands of Oregonians without community mental health and chemical dependency treatment. Another contributor may be Oregon’s methamphetamine epidemic that has created a new cadre of psychotic and neurologically damaged individuals. Some observe that Measure 11 has changed the calculus used by defendants who are deciding whether to assert an insanity defense. Traditionally, a successful insanity defense resulted in more time in custody. Now, due to longer sentences and the sanctions of prison discipline related to behavior problems, a defendant cannot count on a shorter ride in the custody of the Department of Corrections.
One tool that the hospital used for years to control its population was taken away by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Oregon Advocacy Center v. Mink, 322 F.3d 1101, (2003). ORS 161.370 requires defendants who have been found mentally incapable of facing criminal charges to be committed to a state hospital or released. It was the practice of OSH to refuse transfer of such inmates from jail for weeks or months in order to control the hospital census. The Ninth Circuit upheld Judge Panner’s determination that this practice violated the substantive and procedural due process rights of the inmates and his injunction requiring OSH to admit mentally incapacitated criminal defendants within seven days of a judicial finding of incapacitation. In is interesting to note that OSH still employs a similar tactic for inmates who are awaiting a determination of their fitness to proceed under ORS 161.365.
Whatever the cause, we do know that Oregon’s jails and prisons have recently been flooded with mentally ill inmates and that state hospital admissions of “criminally insane” patients have grown three times faster than planned. Despite the efforts of state and county officials to create new community placements with the money at hand, they are being overwhelmed by the numbers of new customers and hamstrung by the need to use scarce resources to maintain the crumbling infrastructure of Oregon State Hospital. (And no, the problem is not that Dammasch Hospital closed. We would have even fewer services available if Dammasch were still around.)
The solution? This is not a case of not knowing what to do. Nor is it a case of competing interests: staff working conditions, patient treatment and the public purse would all benefit from the changes suggested by the just-released report of the Governor’s Mental Health Task Force. Among key task force recommendations are the following:
- The Legislature should appropriate sufficient funds to permit the orderly restructuring of Oregon State Hospital and the construction and operation of community facilities to support populations of individuals who will no longer be hospitalized.
- Local mental health authorities with support from the state will continue to accept increasing responsibility for assisting individuals to leave state hospitals.
- State and local mental health authorities will create a rolling three-year plan for the construction and operation of community facilities.
The good news is that the governor and the legislature have gotten the message. In November, the legislature’s Emergency Board permitted the shifting of funds within the Department of Human Services to support the creation of 75 new community placements for OSH patients and to go forward with a planning process for addressing the hospital crisis. The question remains whether the 2005 legislature will maintain its resolve to tackle the OSH problem in light of the massive budgetary shortfalls. Not doing so, to paraphrase hospital-speak, would constitute self-harming behavior.
The task force recommendations will take strong leadership to achieve. They will require a short-term influx of money to construct a smaller and/or refocused modern hospital and community facilities needed to accept the present residents of Oregon State Hospital. They will require collaboration among state agencies including the Department of Corrections and the Oregon Youth Authority to assure that acute psychiatric services are available for their inmates.
It is worth the investment. Transforming OSH and accompanying changes in how we use state hospitals will free our mental health system of a gigantic financial weight and allow the dedicated OSH staff to work in safer, more efficient environments. Patients will be safer and receive better treatment. The 25 percent of the state mental health budget that is dedicated to state hospitals will be more available to leverage federal matching funds. Compassionate care and community safety will be best realized by implementing a more modern, cost-effective approach to mental health treatment. The governor and legislature deserve our support to get this job done.
© 2004 Bob Joondeph
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
The author is the executive director of Oregon Advocacy Center.
Right about the same time as the article above, State Senator Gordly requested a Federal Investigation of the Hospital.
Another article made it to the blog Alas, A Blog:
| October 15th, 2004
Sheelzebub at Pinko Feminist Hellcat comments on this Oregonian article, documenting a pattern of abuse and rape by Oregon State Hospital workers at Ward 40, a treatment center for children and teenagers. Even worse, the hospital had a pattern of hushing up these crimes.
The article itself is a litany of horrors, such as a fired hospital staffer using his knowledge of the hospital’s scheduling to kidnap and rape a teenager. (This same staffer apparently raped or molested five other patients; two later committed suicide). The most distressing thing for me, however, is the hospital staff’s apparent refusal to treat sexual abuse of patients as a serious problem. For example, regarding hospital employee and rapist/molester/abuser Ronnie LaCross:
KATU’s story (based on the Oregonian’s reporting) includes this tidbit:
The only reason most of this is known is that sealed court records from 1994 were misfiled in a public-records area. There’s good reason to worry that Ward 40 has continued to be a home for rapists, pedophiles and abusers since 1994. The Oregonian discovered seven cases of alleged child sex abuse in the last four years that were never reported to the chief DHS investigator.
Needed security measures that have become standard at other hospitals have not been taken:
Hopefully, the Oregonian article will be a start towards getting Ward 40’s appalling conditions fixed (or better yet, towards getting Ward 40 closed down and replaced with modern small-group homes). If you’d like to write Governor Ted Kulongoski a note asking him to take action, here’s his contact information.
Some useful links:
Special Master’s Report from last February
The Governor appointed someone to oversee the process of improving conditions at OSH- this is an excerpt, followed by a pdf file of the full report:
Every organization develops its own culture; how it sees and responds to its world. The hospital is no different. Successfully changing the culture of this organization is the single most important factor in achieving the goal of establishing the Oregon State Hospital as a first rate hospital for the mentally ill.
For many decades the hospital has been under-funded, under-staffed, over-populated, under-managed, and housed in inadequate facilities. It is no wonder that over time it has become a highly calcified organization lacking in incentive to change and burdened by learned helplessness. It has been clear from working with a variety of people in the hospital that many problems have been well known and have existed for years with little or no attempt to solve them. There appears to never have been a culture in the organization that was supportive of people taking responsibility to do problem solving at the level where the problem is occurring.
Another aspect of the hospital culture that deserves mentioning is what I might call the “ward ” view as opposed to a “hospital” view. Largely, I believe, because of the original design of the hospital, staff and patients alike have tended to see each ward as a separate hospital and have tended to operate from that perspective. This has made the management of the hospital as an integrated whole a very difficult task. The centralized model for delivering treatment in the new facility should eliminate the “ ward” view and help facilitate the shift to a “hospital” view. This shift should enable the hospital as an organization to become much better managed and operated. This will be an extremely important transition and one that will be quite difficult for many in the hospital to make.
It also appears that the rather pervasive view of the hospital by staff has been to see it as a long term care facility instead of viewing it as an intensive treatment facility. These two different views produce two very different approaches to dealing with patients. The current view seems to be characterized by a general belief that most patients are going to be hospitalized for a long time and that there is no great urgency about moving them through treatment as rapidly as possible. The culture of the hospital needs to be one of viewing itself as an intensive treatment facility that is part of a treatment continuum. There needs to be an attitude by all management and staff and instilled in patients, that the hospital’s role is to complete their portion of the treatment of the patient as quickly as possible, consistent with best medical practice, so that the patient can move on to the next stage of recovery and return to the community as rapidly as possible.
These and many more hospital culture issues need to be identified, explored and new cultural norms created as needed to see that the whole atmosphere of the hospital promotes
the best possible treatment of patients in the least time necessary. The hospital needs to develop and implement a comprehensive, long term change plan to accomplish this cultural change. This issue of culture is one that will be a large component in a Request for Proposal (RFP) that is currently being drafted to bring professional consulting services to the hospital transformation project.
Download the full report: specialmastersreport
I often wish that someone would make a serious effort to record the history of this place- from the patients’ perspective. I hear stories every day that would blow your mind. I heard about the story below from a patient who has been there for decades. He was not an eyewitness but he was around while some of the victims were still alive.
467 Poisoned at Oregon State Hospital
November 18, 1942
One of the most tragic incidents in Salem’s history was the poisoning of nearly 500 patients and staff at the Oregon State Hospital, on the evening of November 18, 1942. Many who ate the scrambled eggs served for dinner that evening would later claim that they had tasted funny, some saying they’d been salty, others saying they tasted soapy. Within five minutes of consuming them, the diners began to sicken, experiencing violent stomach cramps, vomiting, leg cramps, and respiratory paralysis. Witnesses described patients crawling on the floor, unable to sit or stand. The lips of the stricken turned blue, and some vomited blood. The first death came within an hour; by midnight, there were 32; by 4 a.m., 40. Local doctors rushed to the hospital to help out staff doctors. The hospital morgue, outfitted for two to three bodies, was overwhelmed.
Eventually 47 people would die; in all, 467 were sickened. Though five wards had been served the suspect eggs, all the deaths occurred in four; in the fifth, an attendant had tried the eggs, found them odd tasting, and ordered her charges not to eat them.
Officials were baffled, and immediately focused on the frozen egg yolks which all the victims had been served, and which had come from federal surplus commodities. It was thought that the eggs might have spoiled due to improper storage, or even that they might have been deliberately poisoned by a patient who could have gotten a hold of a poison while on furlough. The biggest fear, however, was the fear of sabotage: with the country engaged in World War II, this possibility loomed large. Oregon Governor Charles Sprague ordered all state institutions to stop using the eggs. The federal government issued a similar order, and the Agriculture Department ordered an investigation into the handling of its frozen eggs.
But the eggs were part of a 36,000-pound shipment which had been divided between schools, NYA projects and state institutions in Oregon and Washington, 30,000 pounds of which had already been consumed with no ill effects. State officials confirmed that the eggs had been properly stored, and the president of National Egg Products Inc. pointed out that eggs bad enough to kill would be so obviously spoiled that no one would eat them.
The day after the poisoning, with dozens still ill, pathologists determined that the sickness and death had been caused by sodium flouride, an ingredient in cockroach poison; pathology reports showed large amounts of the compound in the stomachs of the dead victims. Five grams–the size of an aspirin–would have been fatal; some of the dead had eaten more sodium flouride than eggs. Cockroach poison was known to be available at the hospital, kept in a locked cellar room to which only regular kitchen employees had keys. State Police launched an investigation, and began interviewing staff and patients at the hospital.
Finally, several days after the poisonings, two cooks at the hospital, A.B. McKillop and Mary O’Hare, admitted that they knew what had happened, that they had realized soon after the symptoms had struck, but had not come forward for fear of being charged. McKillop took responsibility, saying he had been the one to send a patient trusty, George Nosen, to the cellar to get dry milk powder for the scrambled eggs he was preparing. He had given Nosen his keys to the cellar, and Nosen returned with a tin half-full of powder, an estimated six pounds of which were mixed into the scrambled eggs at McKillop’s direction. When people had begun getting ill, he had questioned Nosen about where he’d found the powder, and discovered he had brought roach poison.
Despite McKillop’s insistence that O’Hare bore no responsibility for the poisoning, and over the objections of the State Police, who had determined that the poisoning was accidental, District Attorney M.B. Hayden ordered both cooks arrested. A grand jury declined to indict them; the patient George Nosen was never charged. Considered by many of his fellow patients to be a mass murderer, he became something of a pariah at the hospital where he spent the rest of his life. Two brief attempts at life outside the institution failed, and he died at the State Hospital 41 years later, after suffering a heart attack during a fight with another patient.
Compiled and written by Kathleen Carlson Clements
Capital Journal, November 19-December 1, 1942
Today is the 39th anniversary of the infamous killings of four student antiwar protesters at by members of the Ohio National Guard. Nine other students were wounded, one of whom suffered permanent paralysis.
Some of the students had been protesting on campus against the American invasion of Cambodia, which then-President Richard Nixon had recently announced in a on April 30. Other students who were shot had merely been walking nearby or observing the protest from a distance.
This info from http://dept.kent.edu/sociology/lewis/lewihen.htm:
WHY WAS THE OHIO NATIONAL GUARD CALLED TO KENT?
The decision to bring the Ohio National Guard onto the Kent State University campus was directly related to decisions regarding American involvement in the Vietnam War. Richard Nixon was elected president of the United States in 1968 based in part on his promise to bring an end to the war in Vietnam. During the first year of Nixon’s presidency, America’s involvement in the war appeared to be winding down. In late April of 1970, however, the United States invaded Cambodia and widened the Vietnam War. This decision was announced on national television and radio on April 30, l970 by President Nixon, who stated that the invasion of Cambodia was designed to attack the headquarters of the Viet Cong, which had been using Cambodian territory as a sanctuary.
Protests occurred the next day, Friday, May 1, across United States college campuses where anti-war sentiment ran high. At Kent State University, an anti-war rally was held at noon on the Commons, a large, grassy area in the middle of campus which had traditionally been the site for various types of rallies and demonstrations. Fiery speeches against the war and the Nixon administration were given, a copy of the Constitution was buried to symbolize the murder of the Constitution because Congress had never declared war, and another rally was called for noon on Monday, May 4.
Friday evening in downtown Kent began peacefully with the usual socializing in the bars, but events quickly escalated into a violent confrontation between protestors and local police. The exact causes of the disturbance are still the subject of debate, but bonfires were built in the streets of downtown Kent, cars were stopped, police cars were hit with bottles, and some store windows were broken. The entire Kent police force was called to duty as well as officers from the county and surrounding communities. Kent Mayor Leroy Satrom declared a state of emergency, called Governor James Rhodes’ office to seek assistance, and ordered all of the bars closed. The decision to close the bars early increased the size of the angry crowd. Police eventually succeeded in using tear gas to disperse the crowd from downtown, forcing them to move several blocks back to the campus.
The next day, Saturday, May 2, Mayor Satrom met with other city officials and a representative of the Ohio National Guard who had been dispatched to Kent. Mayor Satrom then made the decision to ask Governor Rhodes to send the Ohio National Guard to Kent. The mayor feared further disturbances in Kent based upon the events of the previous evening, but more disturbing to the mayor were threats that had been made to downtown businesses and city officials as well as rumors that radical revolutionaries were in Kent to destroy the city and the university. Satrom was fearful that local forces would be inadequate to meet the potential disturbances, and thus about 5 p.m. he called the Governor’s office to make an official request for assistance from the Ohio National Guard.
WHAT HAPPENED ON THE KENT STATE UNIVERSITY CAMPUS ON SATURDAY MAY 2 AND SUNDAY MAY 3 AFTER THE GUARDS ARRIVED ON CAMPUS?
Members of the Ohio National Guard were already on duty in Northeast Ohio, and thus they were able to be mobilized quickly to move to Kent. As the Guard arrived in Kent at about 10 p.m., they encountered a tumultuous scene. The wooden ROTC building adjacent to the Commons was ablaze and would eventually burn to the ground that evening, with well over 1000 demonstrators surrounding the building. Controversy continues to exist regarding who was responsible for setting fire to the ROTC building, but radical protestors were assumed to be responsible because of their actions in interfering with the efforts of firemen to extinguish the fire as well as cheering the burning of the building. Confrontations between Guardsmen and demonstrators continued into the night, with tear gas filling the campus and numerous arrests being made.
Sunday, May 3rd was a day filled with contrasts. Nearly 1000 Ohio National Guardsmen occupied the campus, making it appear like a military war zone. The day was warm and sunny, however, and students frequently talked amicably with Guardsmen. Ohio Governor James Rhodes flew to Kent on Sunday morning, and his mood was anything but calm. At a press conference, he issued a provocative statement calling campus protestors the worst type of people in America and stating that every force of law would be used to deal with them. Rhodes also indicated that he would seek a court order declaring a state of emergency. This was never done, but the widespread assumption among both Guard and University officials was that a state of martial law was being declared in which control of the campus resided with the Guard rather than University leaders and all rallies were banned. Further confrontations between protestors and guardsmen occurred Sunday evening, and once again rocks, tear gas, and arrests characterized a tense campus.
WHAT TYPE OF RALLY WAS HELD AT NOON ON MAY 4?
At the conclusion of the anti-war rally on Friday, May 1, student protest leaders had called for another rally to be held on the Commons at noon on Monday, May 4. Although University officials had attempted on the morning of May 4 to inform the campus that the rally was prohibited, a crowd began to gather beginning as early as 11 a.m. By noon, the entire Commons area contained approximately 3000 people. Although estimates are inexact, probably about 500 core demonstrators were gathered around the Victory Bell at one end of the Commons, another 1000 people were “cheerleaders” supporting the active demonstrators, and an additional 1500 people were spectators standing around the perimeter of the Commons. Across the Commons at the burned-out ROTC building stood about 100 Ohio National Guardsmen carrying lethal M-1 military rifles.
Substantial consensus exists that the active participants in the rally were primarily protesting the presence of the Guard on campus, although a strong anti-war sentiment was also present. Little evidence exists as to who were the leaders of the rally and what activities were planned, but initially the rally was peaceful.
WHO MADE THE DECISION TO BAN THE RALLY OF MAY 4?
Conflicting evidence exists regarding who was responsible for the decision to ban the noon rally of May 4th. At the 1975 federal civil trial, General Robert Canterbury, the highest official of the Guard, testified that widespread consensus existed that the rally should be prohibited because of the tensions that existed and the possibility that violence would again occur. Canterbury further testified that Kent State President Robert White had explicitly told Canterbury that any demonstration would be highly dangerous. In contrast, White testified that he could recall no conversation with Canterbury regarding banning the rally.
The decision to ban the rally can most accurately be traced to Governor Rhodes’ statements on Sunday, May 3 when he stated that he would be seeking a state of emergency declaration from the courts. Although he never did this, all officials — Guard, University, Kent — assumed that the Guard was now in charge of the campus and that all rallies were illegal. Thus, University leaders printed and distributed on Monday morning 12,000 leaflets indicating that all rallies, including the May 4th rally scheduled for noon, were prohibited as long as the Guard was in control of the campus.
These are stories of people subjected to torture and humiliation in the name of “treatment” for mental health issues. They are found (with many others) on the website: http://psychrights.org/index.htm
On October 15, 2007, I was kidnapped, put in solitary confinement, and I was physically abused for 3 days.
My husband had called the suicide prevention hotline and thought he would get help for me coping with stress and depression. My husband was ignorant and admits that he was wrong. Two police officers showed up with paramedics. They brutally pulled me out of my bed, injected me with something and transported me to the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula (CHOMP). I remember being sexually molested in the ambulance, I remember being tied up in the hospital bed for hours, one doctor screamed at me, another doctor laughed sarcastically when I told him I was held against my will. During the 3 day ordeal I was numerous times injected with medication and was forced to swallow piles of pills. Nobody talked to me about the treatment and medication; asked for my consent or cared about my well being. CHOMP nurses also drew my blood and catheterized me against my will.
I feel like I was mentally raped. When I started menstruating and blood was running down my legs, nobody at the hospital offered a tampon or a feminine pad. I received no water or other fluids during my 3 day ordeal. I did not receive any food either. I was humiliated, laughed at and degraded by the staff of CHOMP. The nurses and doctors were destroying my self-worth, self-respect and dignity. Instead of simple depression I suffer now from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. I am still terrified that it can happen again. I am afraid to go to bed at night. I have daily flashbacks of the trauma. This experience is haunting me now for 15 months. It impacted my professional life and completely destroyed my private life.
More than anything else it would help me tremendously if CHOMP would not be allowed to conduct these torture techniques on other human beings. CHOMP officials, the suicide prevention hotline, the Seaside Police Department and the ambulance service all claim that they went by the “BOOK”. If this “Book” really exists, it needs tremendous improvements. I also believe the medical code states “DO NO HARM”, Why is then CHOMP running their psychiatric ward like a concentration camp? Why is CHOMP restraining people, putting them into solitary confinement, humiliating them and torturing them? I was simply depressed and would have needed somebody caring and compassionate to talk to but I experience hell instead.
Jeffrey James – Death by “Restraint”
by Don Weitz
For two or three days, I attended the recent inquest in the tragic death of Jeffrey James, it ended in Toronto on October 10, 2008. Although there were some good and detailed recommendations from the Empowerment Council and Coroner’s Jury, the Jury did not demand the end of physical restraints (e.g. 2-point & 4- point restraints) and “seclusion”(solitary confinement, but the Council did.
The Jury should have at least recommended phasing out all physical restraints and seclusion because they’re forms of cruel and unusual punishment or torture. The fact is that physical restraints triggered the “pulmonary thromboembolism” (blot clot in lungs that traveled from James’ leg) that killed Jeffrey James. A young 34-year old black man, Jeffrey died a horrible death in the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), Toronto’s notorious psychoprison, on July 13, 2005. Approximately one month before he died, James had been transferred from Oak Ridge/Penetanguishene Mental Health Centre, another Ontario psychoprison notorious for its brutality; he ended up CAMH’s “medium-security” Unit (3-2) – but not for long. For 5 1/2 consecutive days, Jeffrey was severely restrained – tied down with 4-point restraints wrapped around his ankles and wrists, forced to lie on his back so he couldn’t move his arms and legs, forbidden to get up and exercise, “chemically restrained” (forcibly drugged) with the powerful neuroleptic Loxepine and ‘minor tranquillizer’ Lorazepam – while languishing in solitary confinement (“seclusion”)! CAMH psychiatrists and doctors repeatedly ordered physical restraints ad seclusion; in fact, they didn’t even examine Jeffrey before writing restraint orders – facts confirmed during the cross-examination of Drs. Siu and Darby by lawyer Anita Szigeti. Psychiatrist Siu was the last doctor to see Jeffrey, he wrote restraint orders one and two days before Jeffrey died. According to Szigeti, who represented the Empowerment Council at the inquest, Dr. Siu also failed to request an “external consult” (a second opinion) after 72 hours of continuous physical restraint. This sounds unethical to me– a violation of hospital or provincial government restraint guidelines, medical neglect, or a breach of medical ethics.
It’s bizarre as to how James ended up in physical restraints and “seclusion” in the first place. The psychiatrists threw James into “seclusion” after some nurses complained to a psychiatrist that James was “masturbating” in front of the nursing station – horrors at such “inappropriate sexual behaviour”! Although he was previously accused of “sexual assault”, James had not assaulted or harmed any CAMH staff or patient. It’s also important to point out that no nurse and no psychiatrist or doctor bothered to communicate with and understand James as a person before he died. Apparently, dialogue (not to mention empathy or compassion) is a ‘privilege’ at CAMH and other Ontario psychoprisons. 2-point and 4-point physical restraints and “seclusion” in psychiatric facilities constitute cruel and unusual punishment or torture sanitized as “restraint”. I may report these psychiatric tortures to Amnesty International and the United Nations Committee Against Torture; owever, I’m not hopeful of action since neither human rights body has officially condemned physical restraints, forced drugging or electroshock (“ECT”) as forms of torture. So far, no doctor or psychiatrist is being held accountable for Jeffrey James’ death – unfortunately the Coroner’s Act of Ontario forbids the corner or coroner’s jury from blaming or charging anybody with unethical conduct or a crime. Let’s get real here. Like coroners, most judges uncritically accept or believe that psychiatry’s fraudulent medical model is “medical science”; coroners and judges rarely challenge psychiatric “expertise”, they rarely question bogus psychiatric procedures including forced drugging, electroshock, physical restraints or “seclusion” (solitary confinement).
Nevertheless, some of the jury’s 66 recommendations were constructive and helpful- if acted on. For many years, the Ontario government has been notoriously and routinely negligent in refusing to enforce jury recommendations, especially those concerning psychiatric survivors and homeless people. One recommendation in the James inquest states that the Chief Coroner of Ontario must call an inquest when anybody dies while in physical restraints, but why limit the call to only physical restraints? Many more psychiatric prisoners (involuntary psychiatric patients) also die from chemical restraints (forced drugging), some from electroshock (‘ECT’). Obviously, this recommendation doesn’t go far enough. When a person dies in an Ontario jail or prison (by whatever means), the Coroner must call an inquest, but the Coroner doesn’t have to call an inquest if a person dies in a psychiatric facility or “mental health centre”; according to the Coroner’s Act, that decision is “discretionary”. In a recent human rights case, the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal justly and wisely ruled that inquests into deaths in psychiatric facilities should be mandatory- just as they are for prisons, but an Ontario Superior Court judge recently overruled this important Tribunal decision.
In the meantime, physical restraints, seclusion, trauma, deaths and cover-ups continue at CAMH and every other psychoprison in Ontario and other provinces. Unfortunately, psychiatric torture is not and never was an election issue – it should be. Another national and international shame!
Biographical information: Don Weitz is an antipsychiatry activist, Executive member of the Coalition Against Psychiatric Assault (CAPA), and Co-editor of Shrink Resistant: The Struggle Against Psychiatry in Canada.
My name is Elise . . .
I am twenty-one years old; however, the events that have taken place in my life so far seem to have delayed the progress of my life. In many aspects, I am still a child. I don’t believe I am lacking in emotional maturity, yet I have been lodged in a socially retarded position. I believe this degraded standard of living is a direct result of my involvement with the mental health community.
Six years ago, I began to see a psychologist. My parents were concerned, as I had been displaying signs of depression. At that point, I didn’t necessarily agree with this assumption. Granted, I was a little distressed due to my recent transition into high school… but aren’t all freshman? There was also the added stress of my choice to attend a Catholic high school and this meant many if not all of my friends from grammar school would no longer be in my class. I had to make all new friends, and I gravitated toward the kids with similar interests to my own, which have been inexplicably morbid for as long as I can remember. I do have a dark sense of humor, but when I was fifteen it was nothing more than that. The real trouble came later, after my visits to the psychologist became visits to the psychiatrist.
I don’t see anything wrong with “going to therapy.” I’m sure talking to a therapist was a good outlet for me at that fragile stage in my life. The problem I’d like to address is not general psychiatric treatment; but the specific dangers of psychiatric medication. I believe the introduction of substances like these to a child or a teen is extremely dangerous. Although I was thoroughly warned of any health risks I could encounter, I based my decision on the positive changes I would encounter. Yes, I chose to take these medications-but I was a profoundly naïve sixteen year old girl. I was under the impression that all I would ever have to do was swallow the magic pill.
I had no clue how the next five years of my life would play out. If anything, I anticipated to glide through high school smoothly, happy and productive. I had to drop out of high school junior year, despite the fact that my grades were among the top of my class. I missed too many classes due to several nights in a crisis center, outpatient therapy that took place in the morning, and eventually a two-week inpatient stay on an adolescent psychiatric ward. When I was sixteen, I started drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes and marijuana, indulging in acts of self-mutilation, and “running away” from home. My parents did everything they could. My psychiatrist did more. Between the ages of sixteen and twenty I was prescribed over 20 different psychiatric medications.
As I said, I am twenty-one years old now. It was my 2008 New Year’s Resolution to gradually reduce my daily doses of Lithium and Seroquel; these were the last two medications I took regularly. They were also the two medications I had taken the longest, over three years each. I was finally clean in March, and I was so relieved to be done with that whole experience… I feel wonderful. But this newfound clarity has revealed a side of my treatment I had been too distracted to grasp. I was coerced into becoming a legal drug addict at a disturbingly young age. The real trouble came after I was medicated.
Immediately after I dropped out of high school, I took the GED exam. My score was exceptional, and I started to take a few classes at a community college. Then I dropped out of college, too. I’ve lost half a dozen jobs. I do not know how to drive a car. I have never had the opportunity to manage my own life. Because of this, my wedding to the man I love has been postponed indefinitely. I am suffering extremely high levels of anxiety when it comes to re-orienting myself with society, and I do not truly believe this has everything to do with a preexisting medical condition. The past five years of “treatment” have been traumatizing.
I have had to request disability benefits to try and support myself; my parents have spent an obscene amount of money on my medical treatment and have gone bankrupt. There were other contributing factors to my parents’ financial difficulty, though my expenses are monumental. My family and I have had to move into a house that is half the size of our old house. I am one of six people; I also have a nineteen-year-old sister, a fourteen-year-old sister, and a ten-year-old brother. I volunteered to occupy the unfinished basement so that everyone else could have a bedroom. I do not blame my family for this mess, as they have been unrelentingly supportive. They’d like me to have a better life, just as much as I do… but they cannot help me financially anymore. Medicaid simply doesn’t cut it. My entire life has been reduced to a prescription.
The phrase “If only I hadn’t swallowed that first pill…” is constantly on my mind. My fifteen-year-old self had so much potential; I was a great student, I was my art teacher’s pride pupil, I was a blue ribbon equestrian. I didn’t have any scars. For the first time in five years, I feel like I can be that kind of girl again… at least that’s how I feel. I am five crucial years behind any normal person of my age-and I am so emotionally damaged, I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to catch up.
It should not be legal in any way, shape, or form to medicate children like this. Psychiatric medication has stunted my growth as an individual. The companies that make and sell these drugs have an inherent responsibility to refrain from distributing them to people who are simply not capable of comprehending the long-term effects. As an adult, I am well aware of the things I should have considered before swallowing that first pill. As an adolescent I certainly was not. A person presented with that kind of choice should have enough life experience to make it properly. Now, I fear I may never have the chance to experience adult life the way it was meant to be.
I am certainly not saying my psychiatrist or the medications he prescribed caused my “disorder.” I am saying that in the case of a troubled adolescent, certain medications should not be implemented because some “side effects” may not occur until much later in that person’s life…physical, and emotional side effects. I think drug manufacturers are aware of this risk, and yet they continue to sell these drugs without taking the precaution of imposing an age restriction. I think it should be illegal for any person under a certain age to consume medicines like Lithium and Seroquel. I do not think these companies should be able to sell them, otherwise.
I will suffer the stigma of a mental patient for the rest of my life, even if I no longer take psychiatric medication. I want drug companies to outline the emotional side effects of their product just as clearly as the physical side effects, and offer this information to potential patients who are of an appropriate age to understand that kind of risk. I wish to be compensated for my personal losses on account of their negligence.
The Truth can set you Free
Felice Debra Eliscu
The first time I saw a Psychiatrist, I was 8 years old. My parents were going through a very messy divorce. My Father wanted custody of my 2 brothers and I. This was very hard on me; it did not fit into my reality of what a family was. Divorce was a new thing back then in 1973, we were the first in our neighborhood. The “shrink” asked me who I wanted to live with. It was right then I realized that there was something very wrong with Psychiatrists. What kind of person would ask an 8 year old girl to pick between her parents? I loved both of them the same, the way I now love both of my Daughters the same.
I am 13 years old and my Father tells me we have an appointment with a Psychiatrist in Downtown Chicago. I have a few problems, but what 13 year old does not? I watched my Father mentally destroy my mother. He then used her mental instability against her to take away the only thing that mattered in her life…her children. He then married his mistress of 7 years (also his secretary). I was not exactly thrilled to be living with the woman who helped to destroy my happy home. Not to mention the fact that she was an adulteress. I wished her dead several times a day and even prayed to G-D at night to take this wicked woman away. Eventually I got to know her and she was very kind and loving to me. I liked her. She would never be my Mom, but she was my friend for sure.
While on Vacation in Mexico with my Father she became very sick. She assumed this was her pregnancy. However it was not. She was not only carrying my half-brother in her womb, she was carrying a tumor the size of a large orange in her brain. My Father truly loved this woman and did everything he could to save her life. In the end he brought her home to die. It was a terrible sight to see. She was in a vegetative state. You could see where the Doctors had cut a huge hole in her skull. There was nothing left of her, just a body waiting to die. It was a constant reminder of how I had prayed to G-D to take her life and how I had wished her dead. Of course I do not have that power, but at the time I felt a lot of guilt. I was sent to summer-camp knowing I would never see her again. On July 1st I awoke around 6:00 a.m. and demanded to call immediately. I knew she woke me up on the way out, I could not explain it but I knew. The counselors at the camp assured me that if something had happened my Father would have called. Two days later my Father called to say she had died (at the time and date I woke up). I later found out that when my Father went to his safety deposit box all the watches in there were stopped at the exact time of her death. I guess you could say I was a little twisted from this trauma. My Father a member of the Jewish Priesthood most high has never set foot in a synagogue since. One day, I went to this appointment at Northwest Memorial Hospital and met Dr. Derrick Miller a shrink from England, only I was not allowed to leave. This was my new home; an Adolescent Treatment Program. It was a locked unit for teens with a system based on reward and punishment with a level system. The higher the level the more privileges you earned. There were day patients there to teach me all about street drugs and crime. One day we stole the unit key and escaped into downtown Chicago where I got so drunk I passed out in the stairwell of some high-rise.
I would be released and re-admitted to the same unit one more time. The day patients would bring in drugs, we were allowed to smoke cigarettes it was not so bad. I liked my shrink, because he said my Father was the one with a problem.
My next Adolescent Treatment program was at Chicago Lakeshore Hospital. Same basic program of behavior modification, only this time they added medication. I did not like medication. My “shrink” was Dr. Luinbuk, a wealthy Psychiatrist from Israel who wore alligator shoes. He told me that manipulation was a positive thing. All I had to do was be Daddy’s little Jewish Princess and the world would be mine. For my Birthday I was given a “Dental Pass”. My Father and new Step-Monster took me and a friend to see The Rolling Stones. We were seated separately. My friend brought all kinds of goodies. I was returned to the Hospital “tripping” and put in solitary confinement. Many years later I was told by another Psychiatrist that the combination of medications I was on at that Hospital were not approved for people under 18 and the combination could have killed me. In both Hospitals there was this rumor/threat that if we did not succeed we might end up at a horrible place called Élan. “The last resort”.
In 1981 that is exactly where my Father wanted to put me. We went in front of the School board for some type of meeting. The School would not pay for my placement there and furthermore stated that I that I did not need to be in Élan. I could go to Public school. My Father said “fine then I will pay for it myself” My first day at Élan I was escorted to a bathroom, made to strip in front of two strangers and take a Quell shower. I was told I would be a resident of House #3. There were many Houses in Poland Spring, Maine. #3, #5, #7, #8 and Administration #1. There was also a house in Waterford, Maine #6 and two houses in Parsonsfield, Maine #2 and #4. Élan #3 was “the big House.”
The first thing I noticed was all the costumes. These were called Learning Experiences or L.E.; they were made from mostly cardboard and came from the communications Dept. Dunce caps Cigarette hats. Nuclear Reactor Boxes, Whore and Pimp costumes the list goes on. Whatever the “issue” was there was a L.E. to go with it. With every L.E. there was a sign sometimes you only got a sign. These would always start out “Please confront me as to why……..” It was not unusual to see someone with 15 signs. One night at school a kid walked into class from another house wearing a huge penis on his head with a sign in it that said “ Please confront me as to why I think with one head and not the other” I had to hide behind my book to not laugh. If you laughed at someone’s L.E. you got the same one.
There were boxing rings to beat you into submission, Haircuts where 3 people yelled at you over trivial stuff. General Meetings where hundreds of your peers were whipped into frenzy in the dining room before you arrived and when you did then would all rush at you to yell and spit in your face. Then the Director would emotionally lambaste you for hours. At the end you were given an L.E. and “Shotdown” made to scrub floors and toilets all day. Then there was the Corner for those who would not “get with the program”. It was meant to be used for a couple of hours, because it was unbearable. You could not talk or read or listen to music or anything and some other poor kid had to supervise you the whole time. I stayed in the corner for 5 months. I refused to abuse my peers. I was not going to humiliate others. For this I was severely abused, but I did not care. I gave it right back. I was not going to join a cult.
In a last effort to get me to conform, my Father flew up and told me that I was going to be there until the bulldozers came. Three weeks later he returned to pick me up; I had done the impossible I had been kicked out of Élan in eight months. My Father and Step monster tried to drop me off in Mass. It was a school for mostly mentally handicapped Teens. I told them I would raise hell and they would not take me. Unwillingly me Father had no choice but to take me home. I took the G.E.D. and tried to go to Columbia Collage. There was something wrong with me at this point, socially although I could not put my finger on it. To cope while in the corner I would use different techniques that I had read about. I was not allowed to close my eyes so I would stare at the vertex until everything went black. Each time it was easier. I would at first astral travel. After the meeting with my Father I decided to try “Creative Visualization”. I had read a small book by the same name before entering Élan and it was the perfect time to try it out. I imagined the same scenario over and over again. When it actually happened I was sure I was still in the corner visualizing it. Only after the visualization went past the point of my creation did I know that it had worked. I think I was in shock.
Whenever I hear anyone arguing for slavery, I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally. -Abraham Lincoln
For many years I did not have a relationship with my Father and Step-monster. One day in 1998 I was given the opportunity for my Children and I to get away from my abusive Husband and move to rural Wisconsin. Choosing what I felt was the lesser of two evils I took the bait. There was one condition I had to see a Psychiatrist. This should have been a big red flag for me, but it was not. My Children were enrolled in School and were doing well. I had a job at Lands’ End main headquarters. It was located 3 blocks from where I lived in Dodgeville, WI. On the weekends I would have brunch with my Father an Step monster who never failed to condescend. I put up with it for monetary benefit.
On August 16th 2000 a Social Services worker showed up at my door and requested to see my oldest Daughter. She was sleeping at a friend’s house. I told her this. Within minutes my house was surrounded by The Dodgeville Police Department, The Iowa County Sheriffs and Unmarked vehicles, I agreed to let a Dodgeville Police Officer search my house, he confirmed my Daughter was not there. My Daughter then called on the phone I told her what was going on. She agreed to speak with Social Services. To make a long story short, both of my Daughters were taken from me that day. At the request of my Step-monster. They were put into Foster care, where one remains today. They were 8 & 12 at the time. I was sent to a Mental Hospital the very same day, for getting “Hysterical”. If you ask me, if you do not act a little “Hysterical” when someone comes and takes your Children away you really have a serious problem. For the next 2 years I was systematically harassed in an attempt to criminalize me. I think it might have worked exxcept for the fact that I pleaded NGI. I also opted for a bench trial for reasons that I will not make public at this time. If you take my kids away on the basis of my Mental Illness, please do not call me a criminal. When I found the actual paper in my case file at the court house that contained the evidence of my Step monsters report to Social Services I was irate to say the least. It said I had been diagnosed with Mental Illness and she did not care what happened to me but she wanted my Children to be put in Foster Care. Before my Children were taken from me in 2000 I was seeing a Therapist and Psychiatrist of my own choice. I was on 2 Medications. I had a healthy and happy life. I had no criminal charges. We need to look at how this is seen for a reason for removal of Children from the home. I have never in my life experienced such stigma and open hatred for wanting to get some help in the MH industry. I also have to state that this event has been the most Traumatic thing I have and continue to experience in my life.
“You do not examine legislation in the light of the benefits it will convey if properly administered, but in the light of the wrongs it would do and the harms it would cause if improperly administered.”-Lyndon B. Johnson
I was sent to the state Hospital and Diagnosed with 5 different things. I am now court ordered to take 6 different kinds of medication and 1 more because they make me physically Ill. I have a D.O.C. worker who gives me random urinalyses. I have a Conditional release worker. I have a Court appointed Psychiatrist and a court appointed Therapist. We must not forget the Social services worker either. I never had any freedom in America to begin with. I am not paranoid I have justified fear. Outpatient Commitment is Unconstitutional, but so is The Patriot Act. Without a lawyer, like many Americans find out you have no chance for justice. I have a good cases against the State of Wisconsin for both unjust removal of my Children and continued denial of my Civil and Constitutional rights. As far as my “Conditional Release” I have a good case there too. I just cannot afford a lawyer. If you look at the statistics, people most affected by this are the ones who cannot afford proper legal representation. Any lawyer out there willing to help? Here is a list of the Court ordered Medications I am forced to take:
· Adderall 30mg. tab 3 times daily
· Paxil 40mg. tab 2 times daily
· Topomax 100mg. tab 1/2 tab in a.m. 2 tabs in p.m.
· Ativan 1mg. tab 1-4 tablets daily as needed
· Trazadone HCL 100mg. tab 2 at bedtime
· Ambien 10mg. 1 at bedtime
· Hyoscyamine sulfate 0.375mg.ter (gen.Equiv for Levbid) Take one Tablet by Mouth every twelve hours for Abdominal cramps & Diarrhea. (Because now I have Irritable bowel syndrome from the other six medications)
My first hand knowledge of Outpatient forced treatment is basic. You cannot force someone to change. You can monitor them, provide services, overmedicate them (this applies to me) and check their bodily fluids to make sure that G-d forbid they do not use any herbal medications of their own choosing. But real change comes from within. As an alternative to Prison it is of course the preferred route to go. You have to ask yourself, how far backward have we gone? Let’s take a look at my Outpatient Commitment. After my release from WHMI I was given all of the above mentioned services with the threat that I could be re-hospitalized at any moment for not following my Conditional Release Plan. This could be initiated by any of the above mentioned people. This causes additional anxiety. Knowing what I know now. I would never seek help. My “confidential” MH files were used against me in court to take my Children. Knowing what my “issues” were: I was provoked and harassed daily.
(I was also Drugged with everything from neuroleptics’ to antipsychotics’ and SSRI’s you name it! I was forced to report to the Iowa County Sherriff 4 times daily for Medication and if I was late I was charged with Bail Jumping.)
After 3 years of taking my Medication by myself, The Judge has ordered Medication Monitoring after a revocation hearing where I was sent home.
Now my Conditional release worker wants’ to hire 3 students from the U.W. Platteville to bring me my Medication 4 times a day.
I am currently taking 3 medications
1. Adderal- 20 mg. 8 and Noon and 10mg. at 4p.m.
2. Ativan- 2mg. (8 a.m., noon and 4 p.m.)
3. Ambien- 20 mg. at Bedtime. (They would like my Bedtime to be 8 p. m.)
I consider this an invasion of privacy.
There is a lot more to this story, if you are interested.
Felice Debra Eliscu
Behind Locked Doors
(Click for full size)
To whom it may concern