Psychiatric Clinic Sued for Negligence

You may recall that in October 2009, Alyssa Bustamante, then 15 years old, strangled and stabbed to death 9-year-old Elizabeth Olten in St. Martins, Missouri.

In February 2012, Bustamante was sentenced to life in prison for second-degree murder.

Bustamante was a client at Pathways Community Behavioral Healthcare and taking Prozac when she committed the crime. She had previously been hospitalized in 2007 at the Mid-Missouri Mental Health Center in Columbia for attempted suicide.

Olten’s mother, Patricia Preiss, is now suing the clinic for negligent failure to warn Preiss and her family about Bustamante’s violent tendencies. Similar claims are being made against Dr. Niger Sultana, a Pathways psychiatrist, and Ron Wilson, a Pathways counselor.

This lawsuit was filed the same day Preiss won a court judgment against Bustamante’s legal guardian grandparents for wrongful death.

The issue of Prozac causing violent behavior was raised at the sentencing hearing. As is common in such cases, the psychiatrist for the defense argued that Prozac can cause violence; and the psychiatrist for the prosecution argued that Prozac cannot cause violence. Psychiatric “expert” witnesses are widely criticized for providing testimony to suit their clients’ purposes.

Psychiatry’s increasing influence in criminal justice has produced only escalating crime rates internationally. Although incapable of either predicting future dangerousness or of rehabilitating criminals, psychiatrists still testify, in court on behalf of the highest bidder, asserting that offenders are not responsible for what they have done, but are instead “victims” of fictitious mental disorders. The result is rising crime, as lawbreakers are put back on the streets to wreak more havoc, unrepentant and uncorrected.

Yet during trials, in sentencing, in probation hearings, psychiatrists are still called upon for their opinions. And, sadly, these opinions are considered.

In further abuse, psychotropic drugs are then given to incarcerated youths and adults. Instead of rehabilitating the inmate so that he can become a productive member of society, these drugs make it even more difficult for him to escape the dwindling spiral of criminality and can induce continued violent behavior in prison. It is time to hold the psychiatrists and psychologists in our judicial and penal systems responsible.

Psychiatry has had the opportunity to prove itself but has instead proven to be a colossal failure. The cost to society has been catastrophic, not only in terms of money.

Psychiatry was posed as a solution and became a problem. The first step is to remove psychiatric influence from the courts, police departments, prisons and schools. Contact your local, state and federal officials and tell them what you think. Ask them to remove psychiatrists and psychologists as advisors or as counselors from courts, police forces, prisons and criminal rehabilitation and parole services.

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