Thursday, July 31, 2003

Doing nothing for the patients

Gov. Mark Sanford has been putting the spotlight on the North Carolina Department of Mental this week. During a budget meeting this week, Department officials came under harsh scrutiny.

After 90 minutes of hearing from Director George Gintoli and other officials in the mental health field, Sanford said he found "what we already knew, that we have a splintered health care system that continues to be costly for the taxpayers and, at times, produces anything but the best level of care."

He repeatedly asked Gintoli to account for the $300 million a year the department spends on its hospitals. Reminding Gintoli that a state judge held the department in contempt for failing to treat people in its hospitals, Sanford asked, "Where's the $300 million go?"

Patients endure horrific conditions

As reported in the Galway advertiser

Psychiatric Patients in Connemara (Ireland) are being forced to endure horrific conditions at a daycare centre.

The day support centre in Clifden was used during the filming of the film Sinners outlining the horrors suffered by women in Magdalene homes, and according to Previte patients at the facility have to endure similar conditions to those depicted in the historical drama. "There is sewerage flowing into the day room and the kitchen," he said of the centre. "It's the most disgusting and disgraceful situation.

The centre caters for some 40 patients who avail of a range of treatments and therapies in the building.

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Hospital fined for death in psych ward

The Louisiana state health department has fined Greenwell Springs Hospital $2,600 after investigating the death of a patient in the psychiatric ward.

Patient Francis Plaisance Jr. was at the hospital for less than a week when he was found unconscious in a bathroom in September 2002. He had been strangled with a bed sheet and a necklace.

Psychiatrist arrested for being a high volume drug pusher

Psychiatrist Aaron Friedberg, 40, of Alpine, N.J., has been arrested on charges that he illegally sold prescriptions out of an office on Manhattan's Upper East Side. Published reports said that Friedberg, a psychiatrist, would see up to 30 people an hour, charging $150 for a prescription for 100 to 120 pills of Xanax or Klonopin, both antidepressants. Fifteen other people, including David Santone, 42, and Kenneth Punllinger, also 42, were arrested in connection with the investigation, police said.

According to this more detailed reported, Friedberg's so-called patients never had to mention what ailed them. He did not take medical histories, say investigators, and openly referred to the practice as "group therapy," then wrote prescriptions for anti-depressants. Nearly all the prescriptions written were for the antidepressants Xanax and Klonopin, drugs often used by heroin addicts and crackheads.

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Another Psychiatric Death

Wendy Gazda, 32, a psychiatric patient who died at Kino Community Hospital (in Arizona) earlier this month was pinned face-down on the floor by hospital staffers until she quit moving and her arm turned blue, a federal investigation found.

"The patient was 'bucking,' trying to get up," a security guard said. "When she stopped thrashing, the patient was turned over on her back ... stopped moving while we were restraining her. We turned her over and the patient was blue."

A 10-page statement of deficiencies compiled by Medicare listed the untrained security workers, the hospital's failure to monitor Gazda's vital signs and its failure to report the death to state and federal authorities. Medicare has threatened to "decertify" Kino Community Hospital unless it can prove by Aug. 13 that it has taken steps to assure that no other patient will die as Gazda did.

See also this more detailed report which includes this detail:

Mitch Gluck, Kino's behavioral health director, told investigators there were "no hospital problems" or "process failures," the report says. Kino was awaiting the medical examiner's report "due to the facility's belief that the patient died from a medical condition caused by spousal abuse or the patient's poor health," according to the report. The county's autopsy ruled out physical injury, heart attack or underlying disease as causes of Gazda's death.

Problems with pushing pills

Something I came across on the problems with how the drug companies push their pills.

A standard, long-term practice that has come under growing fire in the past year:

Pharmaceutical companies paying doctors a fee of several hundred dollars a day to allow salespeople to shadow them as they see patients, a practice called a preceptorship. Normally, doctors will speak to sales reps on the fly, for 10 minutes between patients. A preceptorship gives a sales representative up to eight hours with a physician, during which the two talk about their families and hobbies. Drug companies and some doctors say it is an important educational tool, but others believe it is an invasion of patients' privacy and a ploy by drug companies to promote their products.

The American Medical Association has passed a resolution saying doctors should not allow drug company representatives to shadow them "without the full knowledge and informed consent of patients"

There have been incidents where patients have disrobed for the doctor, in front of the pill salesman, and they didn't find out who the guy was until much later. Lawsuits ensued.

All of this is occurring as federal prosecutors increasingly investigate -- and win multimillion-dollar settlements from -- drug companies for paying doctors illegal inducements to prescribe their medications. The federal cases haven't focused on preceptorships. But documents unsealed last year in one case against Parke-Davis, now Pfizer Inc., suggested that some representatives use shadowing more to sell drugs than to learn.

8 hours of a doctor's time certainly would increase the prospect for increased sales.

Guilty of misconduct

Stephen Perry, aged 33, has been found guilty of professional misconduct. He kept his stamped prescription pad when he left the child psychiatry department at Oxleas NHS Trust, which covers Bromley borough, in October 2000. He used it to wrongly write out nine prescriptions for massive doses of slimming pills and addictive tranquillisers for his apartment roommate from December 2000 to March 2002. Counsel for the GMC Fiona Horlick said some of the drugs had a street value and the quantities and combinations of drugs were “inappropriate”. Perry, who now works at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, has avoided being "struck off" by the British General Medical Council (GMC) on July 24.

Sudden death was five times higher in people with histories of psychiatric contact

Looking for some numbers, I came across this research paper.

here is the abstract:

BACKGROUND: The present study investigated histories of prior psychiatric treatment in cases of sudden death reported to the coroner.

METHODS: A matching survey linked the register of deaths reported to the coroner with a comprehensive statewide psychiatric case register covering both in-patient and community-based services.

RESULTS: Sudden death was five times higher in people with histories of psychiatric contact. Suicide accounted for part of this excess mortality but deaths from natural causes and accidents were also elevated. Schizophrenic and affective disorders had similar suicide rates. Co-morbid substance misuse doubled the risk of sudden death in affective and schizophrenic disorders.

CONCLUSIONS: The rates of sudden death are sufficiently elevated to raise questions about current priorities in mental health care. There is a need both for greater attention to suicide risk, most notably among young people with schizophrenia, to the early detection of cardiovascular disorders and to the vigorous management of co-morbid substance misuse.

They dare not ask the obvious question.

Monday, July 28, 2003

Townhill Hospital to be Investigated

Pietermaritzburg, South Africa - Allegations of abuse and neglect at Townhill Hospital have prompted the health department to appoint a three-person investigating team. The mental facility's record of negligence took a turn for the worse last week when yet another patient was reported missing. "Veronica Mondi went missing from the psycho-geriatric ward and the hospital had the dog unit out to look for her," said a source close to the hospital. In another incident, Bhekisile Dlamini was trying to escape from a seclusion room in one of the hospital's high security female sections when she strangled herself by accident.

A dog unit?, but there's more ....

One person describer the place as follows: "Some staff members still come to work drunk, they hit the patients and eat their food. How can they have children at a place like this?"

It is also alleged that in June last year a patient was sexually molested by other patients in a gruesome incident.

Record number of doctors banned for serious misconduct

Not specific to psychiatry, but part of the larger picture in Britain:

According to this report, a record number of doctors were banned from practising medicine last year after being found guilty of serious professional misconduct by Britain's General Medical Council, the British doctors' disciplinary body. Figures show that 72 doctors were struck off or suspended from the medical register in 2002 compared with 53 in 2001, an increase of 36 per cent. An annual average of about 1,000 complaints in 1995, rose to 3,000 by 1999 and continued to rise to 4,470 in 2000.

Australian Pedophilia Report Author Confesses to Sex Crime

Michael James Crowley, a psychologist well known in Australia for co-authoring a report on pedophilia in the Anglican church, has pled guilty to "child sex" himself. Prosecutors say that Crowley initiated an inappropriate relationship with the complainant from "early days", first telling her he loved her when she was 12 years old.

Director of Public Prosecutions Tim Ellis, SC, said the woman involved had come forward 20 years later out of disgust at Crowley's hypocrisy in never displaying any remorse or taking responsibility for his actions while developing his work as a psychologist into areas of clinical care with vulnerable people. Mr Ellis said in 1997 Crowley accepted a commission from the Anglican Church of Tasmania to conduct an inquiry into sexual misconduct by clergy and church officials, with particular reference to paedophilia.

Needless to say, this has also called into question the integrity of the report. Many details at the link

Psychiatrist has 'lenient' sentence for rapes extended

Three judges in London agreed with submissions made on behalf of the Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith QC, that the term imposed on 60-year-old psychiatrist Christopher Allison in December was "unduly lenient." The eight-year jail sentence given to the psychiatrist who raped and sexually assaulted vulnerable women patients has been increased by two years by the Court of Appeal.

Allison's name was removed from the medical register in August 2000 and he will never be able to practise again.

Sunday, July 27, 2003

British Schools Pressuring Parents to Put Their Children on Ritalin

According to a BBC report, schools in Britain "are threatening to expel hyperactive children who do not take the controversial drug Ritalin." Some parents are even being told that their children may be taken into care (state custody) if they do not put their children on the drug.

Many parents are refusing to allow their children to be given Ritalin based on reports that the drug can cause serious side-effects in some children, leaving them robotic, lethargic, depressed, or withdrawn. The BBC has learnt that they are being pressured into changing their minds by schools.

As seen in the report, even parents of children who have not been diagnosed with any disease or condition are being pressured to put their children on the drug.

Two adult women win right to sue for false claims of child abuse against their father.

As seen in this report, two New Zealand women have won Privy Council backing to sue a social worker and a psychologist who they claim removed them from their father in 1988 after false allegations of sexual abuse. In its decision, the Privy Council overturned High Court and Court of Appeal rulings that stopped the women from suing for $550,000 damages each for upset to their lives and the trauma of being removed from their father after one of them falsely made allegations of abuse when aged five.

The New Zealand courts refused to hear their suit, saying protection workers investigating abuse allegations might overlook the best interests of a child if they knew their actions might be subject to minute evaluation in a damages action.

The father was interviewed by police, but never charged with an offence. He was separated from his children for months and put under supervision for three years after they were returned to him. According to their claim, the five-year-old said within two weeks that her allegations were untrue and had been made to "the ladies who had come to see her and her sister at the school because she was allowed to tell lies at school". The older girl denied their father abused them. Their claim says the psychologist and the social worker were negligent by not investigating important factual errors in the false claim and for ignoring statements denying abuse.

Florida Institute for Girls - Sexual Abuse of Inmates Exposed

The Florida Institute for Girls has been besieged by reports of sexual misconduct and child abuse, having had numerous complaints of both in its three years of operation, so much so that the director has just been replaced. It also has struggled with high staff turnover, low worker morale and allegations of poor supervision. It is a privately run facility.

The Florida Institute for Girls is described in official literature as:

The program has a designated 50 of its 100 beds for Intensive Mental Health needs for high- risk female offenders with intensive mental health issues. On-site psychiatric and nursing services are provided. The average length of stay is eighteen to thirty-six months for the most serious female offender; minimum length of stay is eighteen months with approval of central placement authority required before recommending long term maximum risk to the court or prior to transfer.

The curriculum is designed to meet the problems specific to girls in the juvenile justice system, including the fact that many have been victims themselves of sexual abuse.

The facility is run by Ramsay Youth Services, a Coral Gables-based company, which was recently was purchased by Tennessee-based Psychiatric Solutions Inc. for $77 million. The company is being paid $30 million over six years to run the girls' prison for the state.

See this Google search for multiple news items.

British Drug Dealers bribe kids with Music, toys, and technology to get Ritalin

Drug dealers in Britain are offering children diagnosed with hyperactivity toys and gifts in exchange for their prescriptions of the drug Ritalin. According to Parents' charity Overload Network International, an investigation had revealed the abuse of the drug, which dealers crush and mix with amphetamines. During a survey carried out into Ritalin use across Britain, the charity uncovered dealers selling the drug near the health minister Malcolm Chisholm's Edinburgh surgery. It also showed that teenage girls have started using it as a diet pill. To cope with the issue, staff members at some schools have been handing out extra pills to make sure kids get their drugs

Saturday, July 26, 2003

Prison Psychologist to be Tried for Sexual Assault

A judge has ordered former deputy warden and prison psychologist Fred James Tobin, 45, of Collins Bay penitentiary to stand trial on charges that he sexually assaulted, stalked and abducted a woman who used to work for the Correctional Service of Canada. Tobin is charged with several offences, including uttering death threats, unlawful confinement, criminal harassment, sexual assault, stalking, telephone harassment and intimidation on a highway.

Tobin, a senior prison psychologist, has held various senior management positions. In the 1990s, he was in charge of the female behavioural unit at Kingston Penitentiary’s Regional Treatment Centre. And at the time of his arrest, he had been acting deputy warden for about a year at Collins Bay penitentiary, a medium-security prison for men.

From a report in the Kingston Whig Standard

School Psychologist Accused Of Molesting 5-Year-Old

More coverage on the case of Donald Stettner, a Pittsburgh public school psychologist, who is accused of molesting a Colfax Elementary School 5-year-old girl.

The defense attorney maintains the nearly 3-year-old case was resurrected after Stettner was charged this year in an unrelated sexual assault case.

Gets worse all the time

Practice Patient

There is this intering article in which a psychiatrist reflects on a year of trying to learn psychotherapy with a practice patient. Here's a bit on the nature of one patient.

Mr. R met his first trainee when he was 19 and realized that a parallel universe existed where evil beings were impersonating his family members. There were years of homelessness, hospitalizations, and unhelpful medications. Drug and alcohol binges followed like aftershocks.

Then life settled into a sort of stability. Though his symptoms persisted, they persisted against a backdrop of steady housing and decades in the same clinic. It was a combination that upheld him. He led community meetings in the day program. He took a volunteer job at the snack bar. He became famous for his jokes, lifted from Reader's Digests in the waiting room. Simply through the ticking of years he acquired a tenure. He was an eminence. Trainees assigned to him felt themselves lucky.

He showed up promptly for our appointments. He was responsible, never in crisis, and answered questions he had already answered a hundred times about his family and the particulars of his illness

Here's a snippet reflecting the last therapy session:

''Doctor,'' he said, ''how many psychiatrists does it take to shingle a roof?''

I smiled hopefully. ''A lightbulb joke?'' I said. ''How many psychiatrists does it take to shingle a roof?''

''Depends how thin you slice them,'' he said.

Fifteen years have passed since Mr. R left me with that joke. I have not forgotten him. But wherever he is, whatever he's doing, I sincerely hope he has forgotten me.

Even the psych in training realised that they really didn't do any good for this guy. Ever.

In any other profession, they know, people would expect actual expertise and results. Even the practice patient seems to have known this.

Friday, July 25, 2003

Psychiatric Analysis of Political Foes

Researchers in Berkely California have published a paper on "Political Conservatism as Motivated Social Cognition." It was recently published in the American Psychological Association's Psychological Bulletin.

Basically examines the reasons why conservatives may be crazy or otherwise not quite right. It almost reads like an anthropologists report of a lost tribe out of the Amazon Forest. Note the Berkely California is a stronghold of liberalism.

John Goldberg in the National Review has a few words on this.

The idea that the psychiatric-therapeutic establishment is politically biased is hardly new. In 1964, 1,189 psychiatrists asserted that even though they'd never met Barry Goldwater, never mind diagnosed him, he was still so mentally unstable and paranoid that in their scientific opinion he could not be trusted with the power of the presidency. So outrageous was this "petition" of psychiatrists launched by Fact magazine, that Goldwater actually won a libel suit, which is almost impossible for a politician.


The justification for this sort of thing is not merely that the "conservatives" who are broadly defined to include anyone not up-to-speed on what constitutes insensitive language need to get right in the head, but that the liberal young men and women who feel "oppressed" by contrary views, nasty-sounding words, nude pictures in the classroom, "hate" words, etc. are right in the head. In other words, it's "normal" according to the reigning authorities of academia to have the self-esteem of a delicate souffle, prone to imploding at the slightest discordant vibration, but it is abnormal to disagree with the prevailing worldview.

And that gets us to the heart of why this study is more bogus than a $6 dollar Rolex. Virtually all of the characteristics the authors attribute to the right can be equally laid at the feet of the left. [...]

An interesting note in a long standing debate.

British Court Rules: Unjustified seclusion of psychiatric patients is breach of Human Rights

In Britain, the Court of Appeal has ruled that two hospitals caring for detained psychiatric patients were wrong to disregard provisions in the Mental Health Act code of practice on the use of seclusion—the hospital equivalent of solitary confinement. The judgment, which lawyers and psychiatrists expect will have far reaching consequences, overturned two earlier High Court case rulings that held that the hospitals had to have regard to the code of practice but were not obliged to follow it.

The appeal court held that unjustified seclusion is a breach of article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights: the right to respect for private life. The right can be interfered with only for a legitimate aim and only "in accordance with law."

The decision is reported in the British Medical Journal.

Thursday, July 24, 2003

Kids selling their psych drug pills to kids who want to get stoned

As seen here

Youngsters prescribed a controversial hyperactivity drug are peddling the pills to schoolfriends in Middlesbrough (in Britain), it was confirmed today. And children are also suffering at the hands of bullies, who are forcing them to hand over their Ritalin medication, which can produce a cocaine-type high.

Dave Woodhouse, head of psychology at Teesside University, said:

"It is very similar to cocaine and in some ways it is more effective than cocaine, for example, it stays in the brain longer. The abuse is nothing new. It started in the early '60s but no study has been done in terms of the level of abuse. But I gave a talk to a group of school teachers and asked how many of them knew about Ritalin being sold between children at school. Ninety per cent of them put their hands up and said they had some experience of it."

Experts believe the tablets could be changing hands for up to £10 a time for their euphoric or appetite-suppressing effects.

Murdered Psych alledged to 'having an affair with a registered sex offender.'

Defense attorneys contend a psychologist whose prison-guard husband is accused of stabbing her to death was having an affair with a registered sex offender.

John Bates, 40, is in the Brazoria County (Texas) Detention Center facing murder charges in the July 10 death of his wife at their home in the 100 block of Country Road in Bailey’s Prairie. Linda Bates, a psychologist who counseled sex offenders, was stabbed multiple times. If convicted, John Bates could face anywhere from probation to 99 years in prison.

Tom Selleck, who is defending Bates, said he hasn’t yet settled on a defense strategy. “The evidence, as I know it, would show that Linda Bates was having an affair with a person she was counseling,” Selleck said. “I can’t comment on pending litigation other than to say I believe the evidence will show she was having an affair with a registered sex offender.” A therapist who takes advantage of a patient’s emotional stress to have sex with the patient is guilty of sexual assault, according to state law.

The sex offender seems to be a really nasty sort as well. Plenty of details at the link.

Advertising has helped create self-medicating numbskulls who offer everyone unsolicited advice.

Came across this interesting column, entitled "Advertising has helped create self-medicating numbskulls who offer everyone unsolicited advice".

What fuels our entitlement to self-conferred honorary psych doctorates may be nothing so programmatic as advertising. Last year, the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that in the decade beginning in 1987 — the year the antidepressant Prozac was introduced to the market — antidepressant use among depression patients increased 38 percent, while a reliance on therapy by the patient pool decreased by 11 percent.

An interesting analysis of the situation, although I don't agree with all points.

NH State Court withdraws psych drugging opinion

The New Hampshire state Supreme Court has withdrawn an opinion that said judges could order mentally ill suspects to take psychiatric drugs, because its opinion conflicted with a U.S. Supreme Court decision issued three days later. The state Supreme Court ruled in New Hampshire vs. Raymond Bahmer on June 13 that judges could order medication for mentally ill defendants for up to one year, if the treatment is likely to make them competent to stand trial.

Then on June 16, in the case of a mentally ill dentist, Charles Sell, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled defendants can be required to take psychiatric drugs only when there is no alternative treatment and when the government has a vital interest in prosecution. Even then, prosecutors must show the drugs are in the best medical interests of the suspect and unlikely to produce side effects that could hinder his ability to get a fair trial, the U.S. Supreme Court said. The federal court said such cases probably would be "rare."

Legal experts said the Sell decision would make it difficult to force medication on defendants - like Bahmer and Sell - who are not a danger to themselves or others and are not charged with violent crimes.

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

Psychologist Granted Bond on Child Molestation Charges

A former child psychologist with the Pittsburgh Public Schools who is accused of molesting his adopted son and a pupil at Colfax Elementary School was granted $100,000 straight bond yesterday and his family was trying to get him out of jail last night (Tuesday) . Donald Stettner, 46, of Spring Hill faces a preliminary hearing today (Wednesday) on charges of aggravated indecent assault, indecent assault and corrupting a minor for the incident at Colfax in 2000. The victim in that case. a handicapped girl, is now 7. More details here

Tuesday, July 22, 2003

Director Resigns at Oregon State Hospital

Stan Mazur-Hart is leaving after 12 years as the superintendent of Oregon State Hospital. State officials say Mazur-Hart’s departure, announced Monday and scheduled for Sept. 30, is unrelated to the recent escape of a patient and abuse allegations against a senior psychiatrist.

But a top Department of Human Services official said it is time for a change in the leadership of the hospital, which has campuses in Salem and Portland and is budgeted for nearly 700 patients. Reaction to his departure has been mixed. As seen in the report

Leanne Skinner, who has worked at the hospital 16 years, expressed mixed feelings. [...] Skinner, an occupational therapy assistant in the rehabilitation department, said Mazur-Hart’s departure took her by surprise.

“He’s just like one of those people we could complain about forever and nothing ever seemed to happen,” said Skinner, who was on the bargaining team for Local 503 of Service Employees International Union, representing about 40 percent of the state government work force.

It was unclear to Skinner exactly what led to his apparent ouster. “I don’t think it’s any one thing,” she said. “Maybe it’s a collection of things over time.”

“I am tickled pink that he’s leaving,” said Ray Bowser, a food service employee for eight years. “I don’t think he was fair to us. He never listened to us.”

So maybe he's leaving before everything blows up on him? Also see this report from ther Oregonian. Over all, not too many positive comments, and some reporters smell a scandal.

Monday, July 21, 2003

ADD Hyperactivity Linked to Lax Parenting

Hundreds of thousands of children prescribed the drug Ritalin for hyperactivity might simply be the victims of lax parenting, new evidence suggests. A British scientist has cast doubt on the existence of conditions such as attention deficit disorder (ADD), which will fuel the controversy over the increasing use of Ritalin.

Warwick Dyer, a behavioural expert, claims parents need to accept more blame for their children's "disorders" and move away from the chemical cosh of prescription drugs. He has developed a programme that focuses on the way parents behave towards their children - and claims a 100 per cent success rate over the past five years. Remarkably, he never sees the child involved, and has just one face-to-face consultation with the parents. The rest of his work is limited to a daily telephone briefing with the parents on how to treat their child.

Mr Dyer's theory is based on simple ideas such as a rigid system of rewards and sanctions for good and bad behaviour, with an insistence on politeness towards parents - and a demand that mothers and fathers control their tempers as well.

Mr Dyer said: "I am open-minded about whether ADD exists or not, but what is certainly clear is that a lot of symptoms ascribed to such disorders are in fact easily confused with basic behavioural problems that don't need to be treated with a drug.

Ritalin is an amphetamine with a similar potency to cocaine, and prescribing in Britain has soared one hundredfold in the past 10 years. In 1990, just 3,000 children were on the drug; today, there are 345,000 taking it, costing the NHS more than £3m a year. The drug is being given to children as young as 18 months old.

Now a growing lobby of parents, doctors and other experts is questioning whether ADD or ADHD exists at all.

In this context, this item is of interest:

Letter to the editor Old-fashioned values would benefit classrooms

as well as this one

The number of children taking the controversial drug Ritalin has jumped sharply, official British figures reveal. The BBC reports that the number of prescriptions for the drug increased by 22% last year. and that the number of children taking the drug in England now tops 254,000, double what it was five years ago.

Utah wilderness therapy deaths

The Salt Lake Tribune has an interesting collection of stories on a local widerness therapy program that has resulted in the deaths of children, and which has come under heavy scrutiny.

A widely circulated list of "wilderness therapy program" deaths includes the names of more than 30 teens who have died in other states. Research by The Salt Lake Tribune shows some teens were in wilderness programs, while others were in boot camps, therapeutic boarding schools or centers and correction facilities.

This type of facility has attracted strong criticism See also this Open Letter to the American Psychological Association opposing corporal punishment (and by implication, programs using corporal punishment) on the basis of the damage such punishment does to young and growing minds.

Sunday, July 20, 2003

Highland doctors 'illegally detained mental patients'

As reported in Scotland on Sunday, mental patients were illegally detained by doctors who had no authority to take away their liberty. At least 18 people were wrongly committed by Highland doctors, according to a whistle-blower who claims she has since been forced out of her job as a medical records officer.

Aileen MacDonald said she told Highland Primary Care Trust two years ago that at least one consultant was not on the list of psychiatrists approved as competent to request detention in a mental hospital under the Mental Health Act. MacDonald said at least 18 patients over a period of nine to 12 months were detained, mostly at New Craigs Hospital in Inverness, under invalid orders made as a result of the oversight. The NHS’s own solicitors told her in writing that the problem could lead to any of the detention orders being deemed automatically invalid.

Saturday, July 19, 2003

Psychiatric Classifications Not Based on Evidence

The Atlanta Journal Constitution has picked up on that study in the BMJ:

Specifically, the researchers, writing in the July 19 issue of the British Medical Journal, attack the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) -- the bible for psychiatric diagnoses -- for failing to reflect the biology of different conditions.


Most people would agree that a fundamental problem in psychiatry concerns categories that are descriptive, arrived at by consensus among experts and not through evidence. The simple reason is that experts don't have the kind of pathophysiological evidence required to create and sustain clear-cut categories.

(emphasis added)

need I say more?

Friday, July 18, 2003

Do psychiatrists even know what they are doing?

Serious flaws in the way doctors classify psychiatric disorders have sent drug development way off track, two scientists assert in a paper in the British Medical Journal

As seen in this news report one of the scientists puts it this way:

"We need to take all of our copies of the DSM and throw them into the sea," cries Edward Shorter, lead author of the article and a professor of the history of medicine at the University of Toronto in Canada. "There are such fundamental flaws that the whole thing needs to be rethought. We need to have indications that correspond to natural, underlying disease processes."

The research paper has this take on who defines the diseases in the first place:

Who defines psychiatric diagnoses?

Officially, diagnostic decisions are made through scientific consensus by the World Health Organization and the American Psychiatric Association. Small committees of experts decide whether, for example, schizophrenia is one disease or several, and the process of decision making should be transparent and based on good scientific evidence. But sometimes the evidence is poor and influenced heavily by the pharmaceutical industry. The industry exerts a major influence through publication of sponsored supplements to journals, which are often poorly peer reviewed and promote unapproved treatments.8 Such supplements are particularly common for drugs for anxiety and depression as these are the most common treated conditions. Worldwide sales of antidepressants dwarf sales of drugs for all other psychiatric disorders.

Industry is said to prefer the disease based approach of DSM-III to any dimensional approach to illness definition. This is because the separate DSM-style diseases represent tidy diagnostic market niches. Every new diagnosis represents a new licensing opportunity. Companies only have to show the effectiveness of an existing drug over placebo for the new diagnosis in large clinical trials. This is expensive but not difficult if the same methods can be used as for previous studies with the old diagnoses.

But the basic symptom for all this is seen as the lack of speedy development of more drugs, instead to acknowledging the more fundamental problem:

Ultimately, the same original problem returns: deficits in the understanding of the basic science of psychiatric disorders. Both the DSM and drug developers are hampered by the same deficiency. In other words, they don't know what they're doing.

Of course, the news article tries to end on an upbeat note for psychiatry. Almost sounds like whistling in the dark.

Adult ADD: Common disorder or marketing ploy?

CNN has a reasonably decent article on the controversial advertising campaign by Eli Lily pushing their medication for treatment of "Adult ADD"., entitled "Adult ADD: Common disorder or marketing ploy?" As one doctor is quoted:

some ethicists said the ad campaigns, paired with education programs for physicians, may result in people receiving drugs who don't really need them.

"I am worried that what you're going to do is generate a disease rather than respond to a problem," said Art Caplan, a bioethicist at the University of Pennsylvania.

Some experts said they find at least parts of the screening tool too broad, with questions such as, "How often do you have difficulty waiting your turn in situations when turn taking is required," asking respondents to choose never, rarely, sometimes, often or very often.

"I've yet to meet the person who says, 'Oh, I really love waiting in line. The longer the line the better,' " said Dr. Edward Hallowell, a psychiatrist and author of the best-seller "Driven to Distraction: Recognizing and Coping With Attention Deficit Disorder From Childhood Through Adulthood."

Caplan said, "Trying to hook a potential user of your drug by this type of questionnaire technique just strikes me as ethically suspicious."

ethically suspicious?

Of course, CNN tries to be fair to both sides, which tends to gloss over this 'minor' detail.

Former psychiatry professor charged with murder and kidnapping

A former Marshall University professor of psychiatry has plead not guilty by reason of insanity to charges of murder and kidnapping in a Scioto County [West Virginia] Courthouse. John M. Adams, 59, of Barboursville, was indicted on charges of aggravated murder, aggravated burglary and three counts of kidnapping earlier this week. Adams is accused of shooting to death Bobby Burns, a community development director, on July 2 in Portsmouth and then kidnapping two women and forcing them to drive him to the Kentucky border, where he had a brief standoff with police. Adams is a former associate professor of psychiatry at Marshall University, according to Dave Wellman, director of communications at Marshall.

Tenet Healthcare Corp indicted on Illegal Kickbacks

A federal grand jury Thursday indicted two subsidiaries of Tenet Healthcare Corp. on charges they paid illegal kickbacks to doctors who referred patients to a San Diego hospital. Between 1992 and 2002, Tenet HealthSystem Hospitals Inc. and Alvarado Hospital Medical Center Inc. paid more than $10 million to a fund that helped recruit doctors to the area, purportedly to fill needs in Alvarado's service area, according to the 17-count indictment returned in San Diego.

Of special note:

In 1994, Tenet -- then known as National Medical Enterprises -- pleaded guilty and paid $325,000 to settle a federal investigation into illegal payments to physicians who referred patients to its psychiatric hospitals.

so it looks like more of the same?

Thursday, July 17, 2003

Therapist in jail for ''Fondling Therapy"

And then we came across this item

After treating a young woman for depression a counselor decided that what she really needed was a course of the alternative approach "touching therapy". This led to sex during treatment and now a prison sentence for the therapist.

The woman, single, depressed and psychologically unstable, approached the man's counseling office for help in 1999, when she was aged 22. After several months of alternative treatment, which included conversation, yoga, and meditation, the man decided to embark on 'touching therapy', which basically involved him fondling the patient.

The woman, who had been hospitalized several times for depression, signed up for the 51-year-old man's therapy, which he marketed as "psycho-social anthropological treatment".

Abuse Hell of Tasmanian state ward

As seen in this report

When Tasmanian authorities placed Stephen Barry Randall into state care, they thought they were acting in his best interests. But instead, the five-year-old was subjected to years of sexual and physical abuse at the hands of the very people who were supposed to be protecting him.

Mr Randall launched a civil court action against the State of Tasmania, claiming the people who made him a ward of the state had failed in their duty of care to protect him.

A long sad tale.

Identity Rape: Psych exposed women without their consent

Two transsexual woman featured in Northwestern psychology Prof. J. Michael Bailey's latest book about sexuality have filed complaints with NU, alleging that Bailey did not ask for their consent before using their stories. They have sent a complaint to NU's Vice President for Research C. Bradley Moore asking for a formal investigation of Bailey's research methods. Another woman featured in the book filed a claim July 14 supporting Kieltyka's letter, but an addendum to the claim keeps her name confidential.

Anjelica Kieltyka, who is mentioned in Bailey's "The Man Who Would Be Queen" under the pseudonym "Cher," said she met Bailey while working as a transsexual women's advocate. Between 1994 and 1998, Bailey agreed to interview the women and write letters they needed to qualify for sex reassignment surgery, which Kieltyka had in 1991. Kieltyka said Bailey did not tell the women they would be featured in his book or ask them to sign consent forms. "We didn't even know we were guinea pigs," Kieltyka said.

The issue has received some publicity through the Web site of Lynn Conway, a professor emerita of electrical engineering and computer science at the University of Michigan who transitioned to being female in 1968. In a June 23 letter, Conway advised NU officials to begin investigating Bailey's research methods.

What we seem to have here in these reports is a fundamental disregard by this psychiatrist for the rights and privacy of these human beings, exploiting them for his own profit. In a way it could be considered a form of identity rape.

Psychiatrist pleads guilty to drug conspiracy

As reported in the Kansas City Business Journal

A Leawood psychiatrist has pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to dispense prescription drugs. Bruce Parsa, 40, pled guilty before U.S. District Judge G. Thomas VanBebber to the conspiracy charge on Tuesday. Parsa had pleaded guilty on June 13 to four counts of intentionally using a revoked registration number to get prescription drugs.

According to U.S. Attorney Eric Melgren's court statement: Parsa admitted that between January 2000 and Dec. 17, 2001, while he was employed as a psychiatrist in Leawood and Leavenworth, he conspired with others to dispense a large amount of amphetamines and narcotics. Parsa also admitted that he had issued more than 200 prescriptions during those dates that were outside the scope of his professional practice and not for legitimate medical purposes.

The psychiatrist faces a maximum of 20 years in federal prison without parole. Sentencing is scheduled for October. See also these related stories

It almost sounds like the shrink was selling the drugs inside the prison system, but there is not enough info at hand to verify this speculation at this writing.

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

Dropping a Doctor like a Hot Potato

As seen in the Health Sciences Institute e-Alert newsletters

Risperdal (the brand name for risperidone) is the most frequently prescribed antipsychotic medication in the U.S. The FDA has approved Risperdal for the treatment of schizophrenia, but it is not approved for children. Of course, that doesn't prohibit doctors from prescribing the drug for a child - even if the young patient has been diagnosed with a condition far less severe than schizophrenia.

Here's Carrie's experience, in her own words: "Doctors are giving Risperdal to children in droves. However, I called the drug company up and they do not recommend it for kids, nor has it been approved by the FDA for children.

"A doctor prescribed it for my son who is 8. I dropped the doctor like a hot potato. They are using Risperdal on children with ADHD to help control them. It can cause incurable disease in children and it is causing strokes and killing the elderly. I talked with a lawyer and was told some parents are giving it to their children who are only 2 and 3 years old."

If you're a longtime HSI member and regular e-Alert reader, then you're probably not wondering how a large group of doctors - independent of one another - would decide to prescribe a potent schizophrenia drug to young children. They do it because salespeople for the drug company encourage them to prescribe "outside the box." Meanwhile, the manufacturer's customer service representatives are telling people on the phone that the drug is not recommended for kids.

Great system: Give the "insider" spin to doctors to pump up sales; give the politically correct spin to consumers; everybody wins. Except the kids..

Interesting Newsletter. Also seems to give decent info for parents, etc.

Shocked! Hall of Shame

As described on the website:

Welcome to the Shocked! Hall of Shame. Here we present the very worst in ECT practitoners and researchers. To be included in the ECT Hall of Shame, candidates must prove dedication to condescension towards patients (there, there, little woman, don't you worry...dr. daddy knows what you need), failure to present the whole truth about the treatment, and general disregard for honesty and respect.

If you have a candidate for the Hall of Shame email with the information. Write a letter explaining why you think your candidate should win this prestigious award. If you have a photo, include that. Otherwise I have to find a silly cartoon. (Note, if you simply email and say "Dr. So and So should be in the HOS" that won't do. I need to know WHY.)

We eagerly await the 2003 nominees

Dr. Judith Reisman on "Kinsey's kooky shrinks"

Dr. Judith Reisman has an column in the World Net Daily about the psychiatric movement to legalize pedolphia.

She is not happy. In fact, she is plenty irate:

You heard right. The movement to legitimize pedophiles has been gathering steam for some time. In the late 1980s, for example, during the two years I spent as principal investigator for a U.S. Department of Justice study on "Images of Children, Crime and Violence" in mainstream pornography, my research team encountered a stable of paid pornography agents we dubbed "Academic Pedophile Apologists."

Like carnival hawkers, these Academic Pedophile Apologists – college professors, psychiatrists and other mental-health professionals – have served as advisers, writers and "expert" witnesses, telling medical, academic, public school, court and government authorities that the barbaric pedophile crimes of child sexual abuse are harmless and, some said, beneficial.

Now, things have gone so far downhill that this May, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) was walking the Academic Pedophile Apologist tightrope, actually publicly debating a proposal for "Lifting [The] Pedophilia Taboo."

and, as detailed in the column, there are more conferances coming up.

Patients Sue Over Psychiatric Abuse

In New Zealand, around 90 former psychiatric patients are suing the Crown [i.e., the Government], alleging they were abused during their time in hospital. They are claiming damages, saying they were sexually abused, assaulted, locked in solitary confinement and had electro-therapy used on them.

This looks like this will be a big case in New Zealand.

Psych in sex case to get new trial

The Wisconsin state Supreme Court Tuesday has ordered a new trial for a psychiatrist convicted of sexually exploiting a patient, reversing a state appeals court ruling. The court ruled unanimously that James Thiel deserved a new trial because his attorneys then didn't investigate witnesses thoroughly enough or review all the information about the case. A La Crosse County jury convicted Thiel on seven counts of sexual exploitation by a therapist following a trial in 2000.

He was arrested in 1999 after a former patient accused him of having a sexual relationship with her from May 1997 until February 1999. La Crosse County Circuit Judge Dale Pasell sentenced him to four years in prison and 10 years of probation.

There were a number of small errors by defense attorneys that, individually, and by themselves, probably would not have caused the order for a new trial. But taken together....

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

Newer Antidepressants Can Harm Newborns

Infants whose mothers take certain anti-depressents known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) during the late stages of pregnancy may suffer neurological problems during their first weeks of life. So says a Finnish study in the July issue of The Archives of General Psychiatry. As noted in the report:

Although these effects seem to subside quickly, they may expose the infants to more serious neonatal complications such as convulsions,"


Reports detail psychiatrist's mistreatment of patient

Officials in Oregon are investigating allegations of abuse by a senior psychiatrist at the Oregon State Hospital in Salem.

The allegations against Dr. Charles E. Faulk, 53, were outlined in Department of Human Services investigative reports and other records obtained Monday by The Oregonian. They have found that he denied medications to a severely mentally ill patient, causing the man to unduly suffer for months. Apparently Dr faulk cut off the medicine for a severly psychotic inmate, essentially abandoning him and apparently doing nothing significant to help him out. Records show that Faulk, the ward's full-time psychiatrist, visited his ailing patient only once during that period, and ignored repeated staff warnings that Norton was "decompensating."

The patient, Neil Norton, 59, lost nearly 40 pounds, frequently cried through the night and became persuaded that someone had left a dead fetus near a soda machine on the ward. Faulk had cut Norton off his medications in June 2002 after accusing him of being "a pill seeker." When Faulk finally intervened in January, 2003, he did so with six electroshock treatments.

According to the report, Dr. Faulk is paid $9,756 a month.

Additional Note: Four years earlier, Dr. Faulk nearly lost his medical license for what the Oregon Board of Medical Examiners called "habitual or excessive use of intoxicants or drugs."

Additional Note: This comes at a time of increasing scrutiny for the hospital, which receives nearly half of the state's budget to care for the mentally ill yet serves only 1.5 percent of them.

Other Accusations: The patients claimed that Faulk had called one a "homicidal maniac" and told another, "You are the worst patient I have ever had." The alleged abuse also included Faulk telling a Cuban patient to "go back to where you came from." Many of those allegations were never investigated by the Human Services Department because they did not constitute abuse under Oregon law, officials said.


The criticism in the report is for taking the guy off his medications. But obviously, if the guy got better, there would not have been a problem. The response seems to have been to brutalise the patient further instead of doing something effective.

So it seems like he didn't know how to deal with the guy without the patient being in a chemical straight jacket. and instead drove him over the edge further. Not a pretty picture.

update: this story has been picked up by the AP Press wire

Riverside Hospital, Washington DC - Site of Extensive Troubles

Riverside Hospital, the largest psychiatric facility for troubled children in Washington DC, is being revealed in the Washington Post as the site of a number of sex crimes and other forms of child abuse. There have been many allegations of profiteering at the expense of the health and actual care of the kids

Among many disturbing details"

In June 2002, a 12-year-old boy was sexually abused by his 15-year-old roommate after Riverside employees ignored his expressed fears. In December, a 13-year-old girl performed sexual favors for an employee in exchange for snacks, carryout food and help in escaping. In January, an employee threw a 13-year-old boy against a wall and slammed him to the floor.

The same month the 12-year-old was abused, city monitors examining treatment and conditions at Riverside said they were concerned by the frequent use of psychotropic drugs to control behavior, poor upkeep inside the facility, staff turnover and a failure to adequately supervise the children.

Two former employees, including the former associate administrator, said that children were admitted to the locked-down facility even though they didn't appear to have serious psychiatric problems. A parent and a court-appointed mentor said that it was hard to get the hospital to discharge two particular children, even when they appeared to have improved. [...]

One D.C. Superior Court judge who sent children to Riverside in the past has almost entirely stopped. In an April 2002 letter to the city's child protection and mental health agencies, Judge Nan R. Shuker questioned whether it was a financial "conflict of interest" for the hospital to perform court-ordered evaluations of children who could end up receiving expensive long-term care in a Riverside bed.

The Washington Post has an extensive expose at the link. and this is just the tip of that particular iceberg.

Pot doc may lose license

The story of the "pot doctor" has been hitting many of the major news outlets, especially in California.

According to the San Francisco Examiner:

In a state where doctors are allowed to suggest marijuana for medical purposes, a medical panel is trying to suspend or revoke the license of a physician who has written 7,500 marijuana recommendations for his patients. Dr. Tod H. Mikuriya, 69, is accused of writing those recommendations without conducting sufficient medical exams and of improperly maintaining medical record. [...]

Well 7.500 prescriptions would sound suspicious to me. Almost like a "wink with a nod" setup. Of course, many communities in Northern cailfornia are said to be heavily invested in the regions marijuana crops, so this would be indicative of the larger drug scene.

Monday, July 14, 2003

Paxil Brings Suicidal Thoughts

As reported in Psychology Today. America's most-prescribed antidepressant may kick off suicidal thoughts and self-harm in young people, says the drug manufacturer. A recent study by GlaxoSmithKline, the British drug company that produces Paxil, has led British officials to recommend that doctors refrain from prescribing it to children under 18. In the Glaxo study, Paxil (Seroxat in the U.K.) more than doubled emotional side effects including mood swings, crying episodes, suicidal thoughts and self-harm in children, compared to those taking a placebo. It was the first study to document such side effects of the drug, one of the commonly prescribed antidepressants called SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors). The reaction of the American psychiatric community has been conspicuously muted.

Psychiatrist allows his license to be revoked, canceled

A local New Orleans psychiatrist who served two years in federal prison after pleading guilty to narcotics charges has let his medical license be revoked and canceled. Dr. Richard Cicinelli, 56, has not practiced since he voluntarily surrendered his license in 1998. After his release in 2000, Cicinelli asked the licensing board to reinstate him, "but it appears not to be possible at this time," said Anthony Marinaro, his attorney.

According to the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners' report on his case, Cicinelli was abusing narcotics and alcohol from 1995 through 1997. In addition, the board said, he was having sexual relationships with patients and "exploiting the therapist/patient relationship for his personal and financial needs."

Sunday, July 13, 2003

Ritalin increases chance of Cocaine Addiction

People who use cocaine regularly may have a harder time breaking the habit if they used Ritalin or the club drug Ecstasy in their youth, a University of Miami study suggests. The number of U.S. children and adolescents who were prescribed Ritalin and other stimulants surged dramatically in the 1990s. The study, conducted on laboratory mice, found that rodents given Ritalin and Ecstasy, then later cocaine, showed higher sensitivity to cocaine than those that hadn't been exposed to the first two stimulants. See an abstract of the actual study here.

In the 1990s, the number of U.S. prescriptions for Ritalin and similar drugs rose fivefold to nearly 20 million by 2000, according to IMS Health, a national prescription auditing firm. About 80 percent of the prescriptions are written for children diagnosed with ADHD.

Psychiatric facility caught allowing Murder Suspects unusual freedoms

As reported in the Cinncinatti Enquirer - A man who fled a psychiatric facility during a holiday fireworks display is one of 20 patients accused of serious crimes who have freedoms ranging from walking its grounds with an escort to leaving the hospital unescorted. Seven of the 20, including James E. Johnson Jr., are accused of murder. Fourteen are allowed to leave the hospital. Four patients accused of serious crimes, including two charged with murder, are able to leave with permission as long as they return by a designated time.

Something about the idea of protecting the public comes to mind.

This is not an isolated situation. See this detailed report from the Denver Post on how "Nearly 50 men and women held at the state psychiatric hospital for murder and other violent acts have escaped since 1990" (complete with photos, and diagrams)

Saturday, July 12, 2003

Death From Ritalin - The Truth Behind ADHD is an educational resource for parents who are being pressured into drugging their child for ADHD by a school Psychologist, social worker, teacher, or principle. As they say on their website:

Parents want what's best for their child, in many cases at the start of the new school year parents are being told that their child has ADHD and that medication would be a great benefit.

Between 1997 and 2000, there were 186 deaths caused from Methylphenidate the main stimulant used for ADHD.

In 1998 at the National Institutes of Health Consensus on ADHD, the following statement was issued: "We do not have an independent, valid test for ADHD, and there is no data to indicate that ADHD is due to a brain malfunction".

We wish to expose the health risks, dangers, and deaths that are a direct result of administering psycho-tropic drugs to children. These psycho-tropic drugs given to children labeled with ADHD include Ritalin, Methylphenidate, Concerta, Dexedrine, Dextrostat, and Metadate, just to name a few.

It is time for parents to come together and fight this horrific war against the drugging of our children, America's future.

This crusade requires a united front. If you want to join, contribute, and/or become an active member of this justified crusade please contact us.

Foster Kids in Psych Wards

There are children who wait in the psychiatric hospital wards wandering the hallways for release. They think someone is going to appear who will open the door to the outside world. They hope that some person with authority will turn the key to set them free. They are in the psych units of state hospitals because there are no foster homes to put them in. So the children are put in hospitals on a short-term basis, with the result being that many are forgotten to remain there for a long, long time.

Who are the advocates for these children?

Psychiatrist's license may be revoked

Lawyers argued Friday over whether the state should be allowed to continue its attempt to revoke the medical license of a Berkeley, California psychiatrist, Dr. Tod Mikuriya, who has recommended marijuana to thousands of patients. Administrative Law Judge Jonathan Lew said he'll issue a written proposed ruling within about three weeks, which will then be submitted for the Medical Board of California's consideration.

This is a case where state law allows doctors to prescribe marijuana, but it remains illegal under federal statutes.

However, the state wants his license revoked because of his alleged failure in 16 medical marijuana cases "to examine the patient, to obtain a history, to perform an appropriate workup of the patient's symptoms and findings, or to follow up with or monitor the patients," according to a brief the Attorney General's office filed July 3.

Thus it becomes a simple matter of being a drug dealer. Local controversy abounds. See also this report

Longest Hospital Detainee wants just a little bit more freedom

A lawyer urged the Arnhem Appeals Court in Amsterdam to consider alternative detention options for a 60-year-old criminal, the Netherland's longest-serving secure hospital detainee, so that the man could spend his remaining years with a greater degree of freedom.

[The Netherlands has a system of compulsory forensic psychiatric treatment, TBS, or terbeschikkingstelling van de staat ("to be put at the disposal of the state") Typically, the status of detainees is reviewed/renewed every two years. Under Dutch laws, someone detained under a TBS order, which is for violent or sexual criminals, can effectively be detained for life in a psychiatric hospital.]

Theo H was sentenced in 1960 at the age of 17 to eight months jail and TBS detention in a psychiatric institution. But H committed another offence seven years later and was sentenced to another 12 months jail and TBS treatment, and in 1985 he received another four months.

Lawyer Willem Anker said the 43 years of psychiatric treatment that H had undergone had proven ineffective, and that his client had earned the right for a greater deal of liberty than he receives at the Van Mesdagkliniek in Groningen.

Anker said his client had not committed an offence for 18 years and should come into consideration for an alternative form of "supervised living", Dutch associated press ANP reported. He said H had effectively received a life sentence without actually killing or raping someone.

This is a tough one. It is the worst of both worlds.

What you really want is months, not years of really effective treatment, not 43 years of ineffective treatment, wasting a life.

Female inmates over-medicated, Canadian study suggests

Female inmates are over-medicated, a Correctional Service of Canada report says Female prisoners are as much as 10 times more likely than other women to be on prescription drugs, partly because they do not have to pay for them and medication appears to be over-prescribed. The fact that offenders have few other treatment options and that medicine is sometimes handed out in advance, just in case it is needed, also contribute to the "striking" level of pill use, the study concluded.

The pharmaceuticals distributed behind bars range from birth control pills to muscle relaxants, anti-depressants and opiate-based painkillers.

The study looked at the legal drug consumption of all 384 female inmates on one day in 2001. It found that just under 90% had medications, with an average of 4.4 drugs each. By contrast, only 45% of women on the outside use even one drug at a given time, according to a 1999 federal government study used for comparison purposes.

Also, more than 60% of offenders were on three or more medications, 10 times the rate among the same age group in the general population. More than 40% were taking psychotropics, such as anti-depressants, anti-psychotics, anti-anxiety drugs and anti-epileptic medication used for mood stabilization.

Of course the report say that this "might be a problem". I'll be adding a direct link to the actual report over the next day or so.

Friday, July 11, 2003

Psychology lecturer admits rape

A former psychology lecturer has admitted raping a teenager while on bail for three other rape charges. Shaun Farrell, 39, of Watersmeet, Abbey Road, Watchet, Somerset (in Britain), appeared before Taunton Crown Court on Friday to plead guilty to one count of rape. The attack, on a 19-year-old woman, took place at Blue Anchor, Somerset, on 3 June. Mr Farrell, a former lecturer at Christ Church College in Canterbury, last month pled guilty to three counts of raping another woman, a former student at the college, at Reading Crown Court.

A Bill Prohibiting Schools from Requiring Drugs for Kids

Sen. John Ensign has introduced a bill in the US Senate that would prohibit schools from forcing children to take medications such as Ritalin as a condition for attendance. Similar to legislation that passed overwhelmingly in the House in May, the bill would require states getting federal money to ensure that schools do not force parents to medicate their kids. Ensign, R-Nev., offered the legislation after meeting with parents who complained about the practice, said Jack Finn, an Ensign spokesman. A spokesperson for the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry has issued a stement opposing the bill

Thursday, July 10, 2003

Lake Alice Psychiatrist in Australian Abuse Inquiry

Dr Selwyn Leeks at Lake Alice Hospital, near Wanganui, faces an inquiry into his conduct in Australia. Leeks is already the subject of a number of criminal complaints in New Zealand by former patients, who allege punishment with electric shock treatment or drug injectionsm and is now the subject of allegations of abuse. Lake Alice is notorious as the site of other psychiatrict patient abuses in recent years

Ah, the picture is much clearer with this story in the Australian Paper, the Age:

    A Melbourne psychiatrist who oversaw the punishment of children with electric-shock therapy at a New Zealand hospital 30 years ago could be struck off after the Medical Practitioners Board of Victoria yesterday decided to investigate his conduct. Cheltenham psychiatrist Dr Selwyn Leeks, 74, is alleged to have allowed children to be punished with electric-shock treatment from 1972 to 1977 when he headed the now-closed child and adolescent unit at the Lake Alice psychiatric hospital on NZ's North Island. In 2001 the New Zealand Government formally apologised and paid millions of dollars in compensation to 95 former patients of the hospital. Most of the patients were children in the 1970s who were admitted to the hospital because of behavioural difficulties. An inquiry in 1997 found they were subjected to various forms of punishment including electroconvulsive therapy, locked away with adult patients, or given painful injections of the sedative paraldehyde. The Age has confirmed that Victorian police are also investigating claims made by several patients treated by Dr Leeks after he moved to Australia.
The long arm of the law at last

Fears Grow Over Academic Efforts to Normalize Pedophilia

Caught this column on the fears some people have on the apparent effort to normalise pedophilia (originally published here)

    Cultural experts who agree with claims that the Supreme Court may have opened the door to legalizing pedophilia in its Lawrence v. Texas decision on private homosexual behavior point to the growing movement within academia to de-stigmatize pedophilia.

of course there are protests that this won't happen.

Importantly, it is also noted that

    During its annual convention in May, the American Psychiatric Association hosted a symposium discussing the removal of pedophilia along with other categories of mental illness (collectively known as paraphilia) from its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).

    After much criticism following coverage of the symposium, the APA issued a statement reiterating its position on pedophilia.

    But in his 1999 article "Harming the Little Ones: The Effects of Pedophilia on Children," Timothy Dailey, senior analyst for cultural studies with the Family Research Council, chronicled the APA's treatment of pedophilia in the DSM and compares it to the APA evolution of homosexuality.

    In DSM revisions, Dailey explained that APA "adds a subjective qualification similar to that which appeared with regard to homosexuality: The individual must be 'markedly distressed' by his own pedophilic activity to be considered needful of therapy," Dailey wrote, adding that in the latest revision, pedophilia "is to be considered a paraphilia when the behavior causes 'clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational or other important areas of functioning.'"

    Mary Eberstadt, research fellow at the Hoover Institute, told "The evidence is plain: there is indeed an ongoing attempt from within the psychiatric and psychological communities to de-stigmatize pedophilia by de-classifying it as a paraphilia in the first place."

You can read that full report here

So if I feel comfortable with my criminal activity, what am I?

Wednesday, July 09, 2003

More Exposure for Drug Company Junkets

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has issued the draft decision requiring drug companies to publish on the internet hospitality arrangements for doctors attending conferences staged to inform them of new pharmaceutical developments. Critics say these sessions give companies the opportunity to "schmooze" doctors and encourage them to prescribe them to patients. Drug companies will be required to publish details of lavish perks offered in "educational" sessions for doctors, under new rules issued by the consumer watchdog. In its determination, the ACCC cited United States research which linked a sudden threefold increase in prescriptions for a particular drug to a company-sponsored education session. Certain company spokemen were insulted by the regualtions, saying that it treated them as if they were guilty of something. Really?

Pharmaceutical corporations accused of Genocide before ICC in The Hague

This is not directly to psychiatry, but ties into the related businesses. As seen in this report:

June 14, 2003 - The Hague

Pharmaceutical corporations and individual executives have been accused of genocide and crimes of war before the International Criminal Court in The Hague. The charges, which also involve accusations of war crimes against US President George W. Bush, UK Prime Minister Tony Blair and other top political figures, are contained in a detailed complaint filed with the ICC by Dr. Mathias Rath.

Pharmaceutical companies including Pfizer, Merck, GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis, Amgen and Astra Zeneca are accused of deliberately preventing life-saving natural alternatives to drug based treatments from being applied in prevention and cure. A worldwide disinformation campaign undertaken by these companies is said to have caused the death of millions of people. Their role in getting both Bush and Blair into power and in determining the policies of their respective administrations with respect to the recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq is cited as evidence for a case made for violation of Human Rights.

Financial interests behind misdirected health policies world wide and behind the drive for war are also named in the complaint, filed by Rath and others during a two-day Conference in The Hague on 14 and 15 June.


This ties in well with this report from a couple months back, as well as this report from earlier this year on diseases invented for profit. Note that these are all big players in the medical drug market.

Psych Charged with Possession of Child Pornography

According to the Mississauga News (Canada), Burlington psychiatrist Dr. Allan Beitel, 57, has been charged with accessing and possessing child pornography, fraud, possession of stolen property and possession of property obtained by crime. This came about with the recovery of a stolen laptop computer that was in the possesion of the psychiatrist, and which was found to have a collection of child porn on it. There is a picture of the psychiatrist at the story link.

New story link here, at the website of Canadians Against Sexual Exploitation

Tuesday, July 08, 2003

Ze Zmerican Zsychiatric Azzoziation

I came across this item here, and have the permission of the author to repost it. It is not my writing, but I find it amusing

Ze Zmerican Zsychiatric Azzoziation

Captain Drugs, Mr. Feelgood, touchy feely, Crapco, it slices, it dices... One size fits all, the ultimate snake oil, no prior test required, no medical history need be perused. submerge your problems in a chemical sea of tranquility. Is everybody happy? You betcha, money is made. No problem too big, no problem too small. The UNIVERSAL CURE! And you thought snake oil salesmen had it rough, and who brings you this wonderful panacea?

Ze Zmerican Zsychiatric Azzoziation.

Governments and companies will love this.

Any complaints, graft, corruption, nepotism... no problem... and you thought the old Soviet Union had the plan for political dissidents...

We now use their latest methods!

Hey kids, having a hard time dealing with the real world of medical school? Had a screwed up childhood? Want an easy out, no problem, you have a future making the really big bucks deciding, I mean deriding people's futures. Help your government today! If you can just say yes to putting away people wronged by:

Incompetent Bureaucrats...
Sexual Harassment...

You fill in the blank...

We even have a "bird-dog" program for public employees in major cities, referred to as an "Employee Assistance Program" to help these people "right out". A never ending supply of the disgruntled for you to "help". Who cares if they are right?

The hell with fixing the system, let's make money. Besides, there are dozens more behind that person, who could be in your office right now making you money; and if they don't like it, they are nuts anyway.

After all, they are guilty. As one bureaucrat was overheard saying, after this monster had threatened a man, his wife and his 4 year old with death, "... because we accuse you, you are guilty...". If you get one that isn't crazy, no problem, we got the drugs to get them there.

Guaranteed repeat business, you get the business, they get the business, the drug companies (pay off those research and payola dollars for moneymaking non-natural patentable toxic remedies) get the business, the FDA gets the business, and with the drugs everyone is happy.

See that patient over there? Just look at that stupor! and he used to cause trouble.

No more trouble there, and think of the money he generates for your cash-flow. Yep, just think of him, not as a patient, but rather, just one more annuity for your bank account, and you really didn't want to have to solve or look at his problems in real depth, of course not.

Who wants to listen to that?

That takes time and that is expensive, that would loose money! Next!

A couple of pills and voila, chemical lobotomy, and the employer is happy too. "God" bless you, you kept down costs, just think of the smile on the accountant's faces.

Who cares if you really didn't help him or if you prolonged natural life crises from months to years?

Can you say cash flow? You contributed to the economy! Don't bother your little head with the path of broken lives you leave behind you, you defended the corrupt from the weak, and you can even say you helped.

You do believe it, don't you? Of course you do, you want to, don't you, or should I say you have to, to keep going ... It's ok, don't look to close, that's good!

Yep, a truly burgeoning field with a future.

(Not offered in areas where morality still applies. Coming to a hospital or clinic near you.)

(This advertisement not paid for by Ze Zmerican Zychiatric Azzoziation.)

P.S. I have a fixzation on zzzzz'z, znore...

Mean while, in Western Australia

A psychiatrist faces suspension for failing to treat properly a teenager shortly before the youth bashed his mother's boyfriend to death five years ago. According to this report in the West Australian online, the Medical Board of WA ruled yesterday that Dr Zdenek Srna's inaction following a one-hour appointment with the 17-year-old nine days before the killing amounted to gross carelessness. But it said there was no evidence to back claims he was incompetent. The youth's family has launched civil proceedings against Dr Srna.

In Anderson, Indiana

A local Indiana psychiatrist is facing more charges accusing him of trying to defraud his patients. Five more charges -- theft, attempted theft and three counts of intimidation -- were filed last week against Dr. Trivandrum (T.S.) Ramaswamy, a former psychiatrist at St. John's Anderson Center. The Muncie FBI office is investigating Ramaswamy for Medicaid fraud. The Anderson Police Department is also looking for people to come forward.