PsychRights Sues State of Alaska

http://psychrights.org/PR/080902PsychRightsvAlaskaNR.pdf

NEWS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT:
Jim Gottstein
907-274-7686
jim.gottstein@psychrights.org

PsychRights Sues State of Alaska to Stop Its Massive, Harmful Psychiatric Drugging of Alaskan Children

The Law Project for Psychiatric Rights (PsychRights) announced that due to the State of Alaska’s unwillingness, or inability, to enter into substantive talks, it has filed its lawsuit against the State of Alaska and officials responsible for the excessive, ineffective, and extremely harmful psychiatric drugging of Alaskan children and youth.  The lawsuit seeks an injunction stopping the practice of Alaska authorizing or paying for psychotropic drugs to be given children without safeguards being in place to make sure proper decision making occurs.

Jim Gottstein, the president of PsychRights and the attorney bringing the lawsuit, said, “The corrupt influence of the pharmaceutical industry in illegally promoting much of this psychiatric drugging of children has been well established, yet the State of Alaska continues to inflict great harm on the children it has taken away from their families by giving them these drugs.”  It is ludicrous that the State sued a drug company for fraud in hiding the harm caused by one of these drugs and still gives that same drug and other toxic drugs like it, to children.

Dr. Karen Effrem, pediatrician and board member of the Alliance for Human Research Protection (AHRP) and the International Center for the Study of Psychiatry and Psychology (ICSPP), said, “These dangerous and ineffective drugs are tragically overused to merely control behavior of children who are distraught about being taken away from their families.  Missing one’s family or reacting to trauma are wrongly labeled as biological brain disorders that need treatment with powerful medications.  Drugs will not put their families back together or help them overcome their trauma and grief.  These brain and body damaging pharmaceuticals compound the abuse and trauma.  To paraphrase a popular motivational saying, what these kids truly need are ‘hugs, not drugs; hope not dope,’ (even legal dope)”

For those who would like more information, in addition to the Complaint, there is a set of Questions and Answers about the lawsuit and Mr. Gottstein is scheduled to speak October 10th on “Critical ThinkRx and PsychRights’ Lawsuit Against the State of Alaska’s Psychiatric Drugging of Children” at the ICSPP conference being held October 10-12 in Tampa, Florida.

The Law Project for Psychiatric Rights is a public interest law firm devoted to the defense of people facing the horrors of unwarranted forced psychiatric drugging and electroshock. PsychRights is further dedicated to exposing the truth about psychiatric interventions and the courts being misled into ordering people subjected to these brain and body damaging drugs against their will. Extensive information about these dangers, and about the tragic damage caused by electroshock, is available on the PsychRights web site: http://psychrights.org/.

PsychRights Launches Pro Bono Recruitment Effort

http://psychrights.org/states/NewYork/080818AnnLNR.pdf

NEWS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 18, 2008

CONTACTS:
Dan Hazen
(315) 528-3385
dan@psychrights.orgJim Gottstein
(907) 274-7686

PsychRights Launches Pro Bono Recruitment Effort

As part of their Joint Task Force on Mental Legal Advocacy & Activism, the Law Project for Psychiatric Rights (PsychRights) today announced the launch of its effort to recruit pro bono attorneys to help defend New York citizens facing the horror of forced psychiatric drugging in the community.

PsychRights’ President, Jim Gottstein, said, “People think forced drugging makes the community safer, but the opposite is true. It is well established that psychiatric drugs forced on people increase rather than decrease violence. The idea that forced community psychiatric drugging makes people safer is a fraud perpetrated on the public by organizations like the Treatment Advocacy Center.”

The scientific evidence on this, the ineffectiveness of these drugs for most and extreme harm to all caused by these drugs, along with a legal analysis, has been put together for attorneys in Memorandum (Preliminary) Forced Psychiatric Drugging in the Community –Pro Bono Opportunity of Great Significance. Dan Hazen, PsychRights’ Northeast Coordinator said, “We hope members of the New York bar will read the memorandum and decide this is an issue deserving of pro bono services.” Attorneys interested in signing on or desiring more information may contact either Mr. Hazen or Mr. Gottstein at the contacts above or below.

Mr. Gottstein stated, “If nothing else, attorneys should be offended by the sham nature of the legal proceedings in which New York citizens are ordered by the courts to take these very debilitating, largely ineffective, and extremely harmful drugs.”

The Law Project for Psychiatric Rights is a public interest law firm devoted to the defense of people facing the horrors of unwarranted forced psychiatric drugging and electroshock. PsychRights is further dedicated to exposing the truth about psychiatric interventions and the courts being misled into ordering people subjected to these brain and body damaging drugs against their will. Extensive information about these dangers, and about the tragic damage caused by electroshock, is available on the PsychRights web site http://psychrights.org/.

Rep. Walorski: Court Ruling is a Victory for Parental Rights

Indiana General Assembly

House of Representatives

News Release

State Rep. Jackie Walorski

Room 401-8, Statehouse

Indianapolis, IN  46204

 

STATEHOUSE (Aug. 7, 2008) — The cause of parental rights and personal liberty won a victory Tuesday (August 5) as a federal court affirmed the right of Hoosier parents to sue a school system for subjecting their daughter to mental health testing without their consent.

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana ruled that a lawsuit filed on behalf of Chelsea Rhoades and her parents, Teresa and Michael, may proceed to trial. The family charges that the Penn-Harris-Madison School Corp. violated the family’s rights when school officials subjected Chelsea, a student at Penn High School in Mishawaka, to the TeenScreen examination without parental consent.

“I am elated that the federal court is allowing the family the opportunity to pursue this lawsuit,” said state Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Jimtown) “This kind of testing without parental consent led me to go on a petition drive that collected more than 12,000 names and eventually resulted in a state law requiring written parental approval before screenings such as this.

“The court, through its ruling, reaffirms parents’ right to control their children’s mental and physical health and wellbeing,” Rep. Walorski said, “and it sends a message to schools and agencies that they should be very, very careful about interfering with parental prerogatives.”

In December 2004, representatives of Madison Mental Health tested Chelsea and other Penn High School students using the TeenScreen, which asks questions that can be answered with only a “Yes” or a “No.” According to the lawsuit, Chelsea was diagnosed as possibly suffering from two mental health disorders. Several other students also were similarly diagnosed, the lawsuit said. Chelsea’s diagnosis turned out to be incorrect.

The Rhoades family is being assisted in the lawsuit by The Rutherford Institute, a civil liberties organization that provides legal services to people whose constitutional rights have been threatened or violated.

Mr. and Mrs. Rhoades said they had no knowledge of the testing until after the fact, and they sued in federal court, charging that their constitutional rights to family integrity and privacy were violated. School officials sought to have the suit dismissed.

“There are boundaries to keep schools and other agencies from interfering in the parent-child relationship,” Rep. Walorski said. “Those boundaries should not be ignored or taken lightly, and this case shines a light on that issue.”

Pharma Funding Controversy Hones In on psychiatry

Vermont AG Calls Heavy Weight of Drug Money Towards Psychiatrists “Troubling”

The psychiatric watchdog, Citizens Commission on Human Rights, says the July 2008 Vermont Attorney General report revealing psychiatrists again top the list of doctors receiving Pharma payments, coupled with recent investigations into Pharma funds influencing psychiatric drug studies, prescribing patterns and the creation of new mental “disorders,” merits a federal investigation for conflicts of interest that is long overdue. The organization created a new website containing recent reports, disclosures, documents and videos exposing the major conflicts of interest between psychiatry and the Pharmaceutical industry called PsychConflicts.org (“psychiatry & pharma – the unholy alliance”).

The July 8, 2008 Vermont Attorney General report on pharmaceutical marketing disclosures revealed that $3 million was spent on drug promotions in Vermont in 2007, with 11 psychiatrists receiving 20% of the total amount, $630,000, a 25% increase from what psychiatrists were paid in 2006. The report also reveals that 7 of the top 10 drugs that companies paid prescribing fees for were psychiatric drugs. An article in the Vermont Rutland Herald, quoted Vermont Attorney General Bill Sorrell, “It is particularly troubling that the industry is paying large sums of money to influence prescribing practices involving psychiatric drugs.” This is the second consecutive year in which Vermont psychiatrists have topped the list. The only other state that requires pharmaceutical companies to disclose payments to doctors, Minnesota, had identical results; psychiatrists received the most pharma funding over all other doctors.

On the federal level, Senate investigators uncovered three industry-shaping psychiatrists who failed to report a combined total of about $7.9 million, two of which were psychiatrists attributed with fuelling widespread child psychiatric drugging. First was Maria DelBello, a child psychiatrist at the Cincinnati Children’s hospital, who failed to report being paid $180,000 from AstraZeneca, manufacturer of the antipsychotic drug Seroquel. According to the New York Times, “Dr. DelBello’s studies of Seroquel in children have helped to fuel the widespread pediatric use of antipsychotic medicines. Those studies were inconclusive, but she has described them as demonstrating that Seroquel is effective in some children.” Second is Dr. Joseph Biederman, a child psychiatrist who also fueled an explosion in the use of powerful antipsychotic drugs in children, who failed to report $1.6 million in consulting fees he earned from drug makers between 2000 and 2007. The third is Alan Schatzberg, who failed to report over $6 million in pharmaceutical stocks and income. Schatzberg is not only chairman of the psychiatry department at Stanford University, but President Elect of the APA, which publishes the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), also known as the “billing bible” of mental disorders for which the drugs are being prescribed.

Unlike medical diseases, which are discovered through verifiable physical conditions or abnormalities, DSM disorders are invented by codifying key behaviors and repackaging them as diseases, literally voting them into existence by a show of hands from DSM task members. The influence of pharmaceutical funding over these task members in “creating” the disorders was exposed in a 2006 study — 56% of those participating in revising the 1994 DSM had undisclosed financial ties to drug companies. Researchers also found that 100% of the psychiatrists on panels overseeing so-called “mood disorders” (which includes the lucrative “bipolar disorder”) were financially involved with drug companies that manufacture the drugs prescribed for these conditions, the sales of which are around $40 billion a year worldwide. About 30% of the APA income comes from pharmaceutical industry advertising, which has earned over $10 million a year from conflicts within the APA and the pharmaceutical industry. The Washington Post reported that “Last year’s meeting of the American Psychiatric Association…reflects the extent of corporate sponsorships…. Some instructors were sponsored by at least a dozen companies.”

With pharmaceutical conflicts of interest garnering increasing scrutiny, both in the press and in federal investigations, the DSM is increasingly coming under fire. A New York Times article, “Psychiatry Handbook Linked to Drug Industry” reported in March this year that “More than half of the task force members who will oversee the next edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s most important diagnostic handbook have ties to the drug industry.” These ties have created a skyrocketing prescribing rate for psychiatric diagnoses, including a sevenfold increase in “bipolar” diagnoses in the past 13 years, according to a 2007 study.

With federal investigations currently focused on pharmaceutical funds influencing drug approval, drug safety and prescribing habits, CCHR says that psychiatrists creating mental disorders or approving them into psychiatry’s billing bible, the DSM, must be fully investigated for being funded by the drug companies that rely on new mental “disorders” to sell more drugs.

Learn more about the unholy alliance between psychiatry and pharma by visiting PsychConflicts.org.

WATCHDOG SAYS KARADZIC’S ARREST HIGHLIGHTS PSYCHIATRY’S HISTORY OF ETHNIC CLEANSING

The psychiatric watchdog, Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), says the recent capture (7/21/2008) of former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic will bring to justice a psychiatrist whose genocide of thousands was reminiscent of Nazi psychiatric crime during World War II, and that few people are aware that the “ethnic cleansing” ridding a geographical area of racially “inferior” people – carried out in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and later in Kosovo, was based on the same psychiatric-inspired racial hygiene programs that led to the Nazi Holocaust.

In 1992, CCHR formally submitted to the World Psychiatric Association, the World Federation for Mental Health and the Mental Health Division of the World Health Organization information concerning the psychiatric atrocities committed in the region formerly called Yugoslavia.

CCHR presented the same information about psychiatry’s role in initiating and conducting the ethnic cleansing atrocities in Bosnia-Herzegovina to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights.

On September 1, 1999, members of the Council of Europe signed a Resolution, “Human suffering and degradation following ethnic cleansing”, that recognized the two psychiatrists as “the architects of the ethnic cleansing campaign” in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia.

The Hague Tribunal indicted Karadzic in absentia in 1995 for genocide over the 43-month siege of Sarajevo that claimed 12,000 lives and orchestrating the 1995 massacre of 8,000 Muslims. Dr. Edward Klain, a psychiatrist and advisor to the Serbian Military who features in a CCHR documentary, Psychiatry: An Industry of Death, detailed how in Nazi Germany it was “technically very difficult” to exterminate six million Jews. Concentration camps and gas chambers need to be established. In Bosnia, hatred and crimes against inhumanity were incited through propaganda: “Serbs would massacre, for example, one hundred to two hundred people. Or rape one hundred women, or one hundred girls, so that they would be terrorized so that they flee. Then you get an ethnically pure land”, Klain said.

CCHR’s evidence showed that Karadzic had trained under former Social Democratic Party (SDP) founder, psychiatrist Jovan Raskovic. Before his death in 1992, Raskovic told Belgrade television and Vjeskik newspaper that he and his party had “lit the fuse of Serbian nationalism” with Freudian principles about inferiority and superiority. Raskovic was talking about his and Karadzic’s propagation that Croats were “fixated on the castration complex”, a Freudian principle, while Muslims were domineering. Serbs, they said, possessed “the qualities of authority” and were destined leaders, while Croats and Muslims were the lesser races that needed to be eliminated. The psychiatrist pushed his Freudian-based theories on the races of Yugoslavia in his book Luda Zemla (A Mad Country) and as part of a media campaign in which he was hailed as the greatest psychiatrist and scientist of his era.

“I feel responsible because I made the preparations for this war, even if not the military preparations. If I hadn’t created this emotional strain in the Serbian people, nothing would have happened”, Raskovic stated.

Other evidence presented to the Hague Tribunal and Council of Europe was that former Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic, who also flamed the conflict against ethnic minorities, had been a patient of Karadzic’s for 25 years. Together, he and Karadzic established the ethnic cleansing program and allowed the mass torture, rape and extermination of the innocent.

CCHR said justice can be served now that the architect of the Bosnian ethnic cleansing has been captured, unlike in Nazi Germany where dozens of psychiatrists responsible for sterilization and genocidal crimes escaped trial and returned to practice in Germany and other countries around the world. Like Karadzic in Bosnia, Ernst Rudin was a psychiatrist who played a major role in setting the stage for the Holocaust. Rudin was president of the International Federation of Eugenic Organizations and world leader of the eugenics movement which sought to remove “inferior” individuals from society by segregation, sterilization, or death in order to create a “better” race. In 1933 Rudin was chosen by Hitler’s Reich Ministry to lead Germany’s racial purity program. Rudin would later publicly praise Hitler for making his “more than thirty-year-old dream a reality” by imposing “racial hygiene” upon the German people.

CCHR president, Jan Eastgate said, “Responsibility exists on all levels, and while the atrocities of ethnic cleansing and genocide are usually what capture our attention, it is important to recognize the ideology that spawns them and to hold those responsible for this to account.”

CONTROVERSY MOUNTS OVER VOLATILE “MOTHERS ACT” DESPITE DEFEAT OF OMNIBUS BILL

This week, the “MOTHERS Act” — federal bill requiring mental health screening for pregnant women and new mothers which frequently leads to psychiatric drugging — was defeated as part of an omnibus package proposed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Although the defeat of the MOTHERS Act is a victory for those who oppose it, the controversy over the purpose of the bill and those who back it continues to mount. In an article featuring an exclusive interview with one of the bill’s leading opponents, Mrs. Amy Philo, founder of UNITE (United Non-profits and Individuals for Truth and Ethics), describes in graphic detail her personal experience of becoming violent and suicidal from the antidepressants prescribed to her following the birth of her son and her battle against the vested interests that continue to promote this treatment for new mothers.

 READ THE WORLD NET DAILY EXCLUSIVE WITH MRS. AMY PHILO HERE.   

 

 

Mrs. Philo is not alone in her opposition to a bill which calls for mental health screening designed to get more women on drugs. Grounds for concern regarding the dangers of antidepressants are overwhelming; Between 2002 and 2008, there were more than 64 studies and international drug regulatory warnings on the dangers of antidepressant drugs ranging from from suicidal and homicidal ideation to premature births, spontaneous abortions and birth defects.

In fact according to the FDA’s MedWatch Reporting System, over 700 adverse reactions concerning pregnant women taking newer Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants were reported between 2004 and 2007. Even more alarming is the FDA’s admission that only 1 – 10% of adverse drug reactions are ever reported, so the actual reports are assuredly in the thousands.

 Read more about the controversy over this bill in “Life With Big Brother – Government to Test Moms for Baby Blues?” Click Here. 

 To find out more about the Mothers Act visit http://www.cchr.org/mothers_act.html 

 

 

To find out more about psychiatric drugs visit http://www.cchr.org/psychiatric_drugs

National Association for Rights Protection and Advocacy

Seizing Opportunities For Change

2008 Annual Rights Conference

October 1 – 4, 2008

The University of Texas, Thompson Conference Center, Austin, Texas

2008 Conference Featured Speakers
Michael Perlin
International Disability Rights Expert and Author

Catherine Penney Of Dante’s Cure, Her True Story
International Disability Rights Expert and Author Of Dante’s Cure, Her True Story

Susan Stefan Significant Developments in Mental Health Law – 2008

Plenaries by Latino Activists and Leaders,
Peer Advocates &
Veterans on Contemporary Issues

A Special Presentation
Tribute to Institutionalized Musicians

Well-known advocates and activists will present workshops including

Jennifer Mathis   Bill Stewart   Ron Bassman Jim Gottstein   Darby Penney  Peter Stastny  Kim Darrow  Dennis Feld  Emmett Dwyer Mark Joyce  Pat Risser  Brian East John Breeding Eliza and Ted Eller, Emily Johnson and Ann Creighton of Ionia Anne Rider  Ira Burnim   Moira Dolan  Lauren DeWitt

Conference activities will be held at the University of Texas Thompson Conference Center. Hotel accommodations are at the nearby AT&T Conference Center, within walking distance or accessible by shuttle.

For more information please check NARPA’s website at www.narpa.org.

Involuntary Commitment and Forced Psychiatric Drugging in the Trial Courts

Involuntary Commitment and Forced Psychiatric Drugging in the Trial Courts: Rights Violations as a Matter of Course

JAMES B. GOTTSTEIN
Law Project for Psychiatric Rights (PsychRights®); International Center for the Study of Psychiatry and Psychology (ICSPP); National Association of Rights Protection and Advocacy (NARPA); Law Offices of James B. Gottstein

 

 

Citation: Gottstein, James B., “Involuntary Commitment and Forced Psychiatric Drugging in the Trial Courts: Rights Violations as a Matter of Course” . Alaska Law Review, Vol. 25, No. 51, 2008 Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1138743

 

Abstract: 
A commonly-held belief is that locking up and forcibly drugging people diagnosed with mental illness is in their best interests as well as society’s as a whole. The truth is far different.

Rather than protecting the public from harm, public safety is decreased. Rather than helping psychiatric respondents, many are greatly harmed. The evidence on this is clear.

Constitutional, statutory, and judge-made law, if followed, would protect psychiatric respondents from being erroneously deprived of their freedom and right to decline psychiatric drugs. However, lawyers representing psychiatric respondents, and judges hearing these cases uncritically reflect society’s beliefs and do not engage in legitimate legal processes when conducting involuntarily commitment and forced drugging proceedings.

By abandoning their core principle of zealous advocacy, lawyers representing psychiatric respondents interpose little, if any, defense and are not discovering and presenting to judges the evidence of the harm to their clients. By abandoning their core principle of being faithful to the law, judges have become instruments of oppression, rather than protectors of the rights of the downtrodden.

This article weaves legal analysis with the scientific evidence, as well as describes how the recipients of these unwanted interventions experience them. While this Article focuses on Alaska, similar processes are found in other United States’ jurisdictions, with only the details differing.

You may also download this paper by clicking here.

Cost Effective Solutions Can Replace Abusive and Exhorbitant Psychiatric “Care”

Replacing the Vermont State Hospital with Humane Community-based Recovery—and Saving Millions of Dollars for Vermont Taxpayers

A report from Vermont’s Ethan Allen Institute (EAI) shows that there are low-cost, humane alternatives to sending emotionally or mentally troubled individuals to Vermont State Hospital (VSH), the state’s public psychiatric facility.

VSH has been decertified by the federal government for poor care three times since 1986. Decertification means that Medicaid no longer participates in treatment coverage, leaving the entire burden on Vermont’s taxpayers. The most recent decertification occurred in 2005, following a condemnatory report by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) that called VSH “dehumanizing” and “prison-like.”

The results of the DOJ’s report have created on one side, a call for a new facility to be built (strongly supported by the state employee’s labor union) and on the other side, support for the abandonment of the state facility in favor of far less expensive, humane and community-based services (strongly supported by civil rights groups, psychiatric patients and legislators responding to taxpayers.)

However, the issue for closure of the 110-year-old VSH goes back to at least 1987 (following the hospital’s first decertification), when researchers led by a former Vermont commissioner of mental health concluded that it was both feasible and desirable to have “community support and rehabilitation services to replace the state hospital.”

Based on two subsequent decertifications, it is still both feasible and desirable.

VSH costs vs. benefits

According to the EAI’s report, the cost to treat a patient at VSH is $1,050 per day, or $383,250 per year. Among specific violations noted by the DOJ in their most recent investigation of VSH:

  • Over-reliance on drugging of patients on PRN (pro re nata, “as needed”) basis with no physician monitoring.1
  • Consistent use of seclusion and restraint as an intervention of first resort, when the patient is neither an immediate danger to himself nor others. More than 90% of such incidents involved strapping patients to a bed in five-point restraints in a seclusion room—the most restrictive and dangerous form of intervention. The percentage of restrained VSH patients substantially exceeds the national average.
  • Insufficient risk management system and unsafe conditions in the building’s physical structure that could facilitate suicide or self-injury. The DOJ’s report notes “the history of suicides at VSH.”
  • There is nothing in the DOJ’s report (or publicly available elsewhere) that speaks of the benefits of treatment at VSH or of the institution’s statistic for patient rehabilitation. Their report does however state that due to its inadequate review process, “patients are likely being unnecessarily institutionalized and potentially deprived of a reasonable opportunity to live successfully in the most integrated, appropriate setting.”

The solution is peer support programs

The solution presented by EAI is that of the “peer support” model of treatment. Such programs are operated in communities, in residential housing—no locked wards, no forced drugging, restraint or seclusion and, in many cases, no mental health professionals—and provide a safe, non-coercive environment where a patient can rest, eat right and in some cases work.

The EAI report makes a distinction between forensic (criminal or potentially violent patients) and non-forensic populations—acknowledging that the peer support system is for non-forensic populations and that forensic patients belong in a more secure setting, for the safety of the public.

Examples of Vermont peer support programs:

Safe Haven houses six patients and is funded partially by a U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) program for the homeless and routinely accepts patients discharged from VSH that have no home to return to. An analysis of patients housed at Safe Haven in 2006-07 showed that each of them successfully transitioned to the community, to either senior housing or a private apartment. Former patients often return to college, get degrees in the field and come back to work in recovery programs. Cost: $32 per day or $11,680 per year. This is a 3181% savings over VSH.

Second Spring serves up to 11 discharged VSH patients, and is staffed by peers and non-peers. Former patients come on a voluntary basis to learn how to live again in the community, something impossible to learn in a hospital setting. Cost: Approximately $750 a day—still less than VSH’s $1,050 daily rate—and a 40% savings.

The EAI’s report gives numerous examples of such programs in other states, such as Minnesota, Alaska and New York.

In addition to the savings, these programs provide recovery—something the state hospital model does not often approach. A 2003 report by the King County (Washington) Department of Community and Human Services showed that of 9,302 people who received publicly funded mental health services over a one-year period, less than 1 percent recovered.2 Mental health watchdog Citizens Commission on Human Rights could find no reports from any county or state agency from any time period that painted a different picture.

- 0 – 0 – 0 – 0 –

Compared to the state hospital’s failings and high cost, the benefits and low cost of the peer support model bring one to the inescapable conclusion that such a change in the treatment of the emotionally/mentally disturbed would result in a level of patient recovery that rarely, if ever, is attained in the state hospital model—not to mention significant savings to the state and thus, relief for taxpayers.

State legislators and others with budgetary or state hospital concerns owe it to themselves and their constituents to read it and examine the alternatives, which can be utilized or established anywhere.

To read the EAI report, “Don’t Send Me to Waterbury,” go to www.ethanallen.org/home.html and then select “Publications” from the list on the left side.

 

  

1 “Re: CRIPA Investigation of the Vermont State Hospital,” U.S. Dep’t of Justice, 5 July 2005.
2 King County Ordinance #13974, Second Annual Report: Recovery Model, King County Department of Community Services, 2003.

 

Universal Health Services: Profits Over Patients

In October 2007, news stories appeared on the death of a 17-year-old boy at the hands of staff members in a Tennessee psychiatric facility. The death was ruled a homicide. A month later, another story appeared, exposing the circumstances surrounding the death of a 14-year-old who was violently restrained by a 260-lb. staff member in the same Tennessee facility. That same month, Fox News broke the story of the death of another 14-year-old in a Massachusetts psychiatric facility, from failure to receive proper medical attention.

Investigation of these reports by the mental health watchdog Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) found that the facilities these children died in are owned by Universal Health Services (UHS). Further research turned up numerous abuses in their psychiatric hospitals across the United States. There are 114 UHS psychiatric facilities in 33 states, two of them in Missouri: St. Louis Behavioral Medicine Institute and Two Rivers Psychiatric Hospital Kansas City.

The cruel and violent deaths of three children in UHS psychiatric facilities — as well as an extensive list of abuses and violations found from CCHR investigation — seems sufficient evidence that perhaps UHS is not as focused on patient welfare as they are on the bottom line, a common finding with psychiatric facilities around the world.

CCHR is not the only agency to notice these troubles at UHS. In December 2006, the Service Employees International Union issued the report “Failure to Care, A National Report on Universal Health Service’s Behavioral Health Operations,” which declares, “This report finds that UHS has disregarded the safety and recovery of the patients it serves, as well as the communities in which it operates.” A preface from the National Alliance of Professional Psychology Providers, states, “There is a crisis in our nation’s mental health care system…of placing earnings and exorbitant profits above the public interest at the expense of quality services to those in need. Using Universal Health Services (UHS) as an example, this report clearly documents why mega healthcare corporations such as UHS need to be held accountable….”

Read the full CCHR report Universal Health Services: Profits Over Patients at www.psychcrime.org.

If you know about abuses at a UHS psychiatric facility, or if you want to know if a particular facility in your state belongs to UHS, contact CCHR St. Louis.

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