Sunday, August 31, 2003

Executive Dysfunction Disorder

another psych disease which is more than likely a failure to grow up. As seen in this report in the Scotsman

Badly organised? Lacking in direction? Bad at planning your finances? Don’t despair, a cure to your ‘disease’ is at hand. American academics have labelled these common so-called symptoms ‘Executive Dysfunction’. The term is the latest to result from an American trend for naming apparently common human behaviour as a specific medical condition. [...]

Neurologist Dr Martha Bridge Denckla, of John Hopkins School of Medicine, treats children and teenagers with Executive Dysfunction. It refers to higher brain processes, and was previously used to describe patients with serious learning and other mental disabilities. But in recent years it has been taken up by teachers and parents seeking to explain under-performance at school or hyperactivity. [...]

She said: "What fascinates me is kids who attend good schools, go off to college with perfect Standard Assessment Tests and then flunk out in their first year because there is too little structure for their scattered minds. Being ‘on your own’ is a death knell for these kids."

If you never learn to make plans in your life, then you never develop the skills. You expect kids who never learned the skills to pick them up in just a few days when they go to college?

I can't be the only one who thinks that this is a failure in the education system, and in certain modern parenting philosophies.

Ineffective Psychiatric Prison Rehab Programs

found this article on the probably ineffectiveness of psychiatirc rehab programs in prison

Prison probably hasn't changed the killer or child molester who just left a cell block and moved onto your block. There's a 40 to 50 percent chance the ex-convict down the street will cause trouble again, experts say. The ex-cons agree.

Of course, the argument is made that they need more shrinks and more money for shrinks in Minnesota.

But even as seen in this earlier story, even just changing the television shows available in prison will have a dramatic result.

But this wouldn't cost all that much. And conditions are the same or worse in many states around the USA

If they want to spend more money, they might want to look at this experimental program being tried in Mexico. here's an interesting statistic:

The 400 inmates who have been registered in the program were the base for the statistic for this study. The objective of the study was measure the rehabilitation success and the reduction of the recidivism was valid.

When the results were analyzed it was found that the recidivism rate in the inmates who did the drug-free withdrawal and any of the other courses is very low (10.24%).

Normally, according to the State data, recidivism due to robbery is 70%. From the 192, who were released, 124 had been arrested because of robbery. At the normal 70% rate of recidivism we would expect 87 persons from the 124 would have returned to prison. Instead only 10 have returned to prison.

With this rehabilitation treatment, the recidivism rate for robbery has reduced from 70% to 8.06%

But notably, this is not a psychiatric program. Which will surpise some people thoroughly.

Saturday, August 30, 2003

No proof mental illness rooted in biology

Here's an interesting column entitled "No proof mental illness rooted in biology"

The largest lay group is the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI). The media routinely refer to NAMI as advocates for the mentally ill, although its membership consists almost entirely of family members and not the mentally ill themselves. NAMI ascribes to the "biological basis of mental illness," and endorses forced treatment of the mentally ill.

The movement's major source of funding is the highly profitable pharmaceutical industry, which funds the drug research; which funds psychiatric journals, and even the American Psychiatric Association itself; which funds advertising to doctors and the public; and even funds lay groups such as NAMI (at least $11 million) and Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder (at least $1 million).

Yet many professionals claim that the mental health movement is not a legitimate medical or scientific endeavor, let alone a civil rights movement, but a political ideology of intolerance and inhumanity. Numerous psychiatrists and psychologists have examined the psychiatric research literature and found it to range from smoke and mirrors to quackery.

Psychiatrists have yet to conclusively prove that a single mental illness has a biological or physical cause, or a genetic origin. Psychiatry has yet to develop a single physical test that can determine that an individual actually has a particular mental illness. Indeed, The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders uses behavior, not physical symptoms, to diagnose mental illness, and it lacks both scientific reliability and validity.

worthy read

Friday, August 29, 2003

Girls get extra school help while boys get Ritalin

This editorial in USA Today notes: "Girls get extra school help while boys get Ritalin"

At last June's graduation at Franklin High School just outside of Milwaukee, three of the four students who tied for valedictorian were girls. Among the National Honor Society members, 76% were girls. And girls comprised 85% of the students on Franklin's 4.0 honor roll.

The superintendent of schools for this upper-middle-class suburb, Gerald Freitag, investigated those numbers after the parents of a boy filed a complaint. He found that the skewed performances by gender at Franklin pretty much mirror the imbalances across the state — and the nation.


Most startling is that little is being done to correct the imbalances. All of the major players — schools, education colleges and researchers — largely ignore the gender gap. Instead of pursuing sound solutions, many educators merely advocate prescribing more attention-focusing Ritalin for the boys, who receive the drug at four to eight times the rate of girls, according to different estimates. "Too often the first reaction to an attention problem is 'Let's medicate,' " says Rockville, Md., child psychologist Neil Hoffman. "Some schools are quick to recommend solutions before they've fully evaluated the problem."


Last April, when Kenneth Dragseth, superintendent of schools in Edina, Minn., presented a paper describing his district's gender gap at the American Educational Research Association's annual meeting in Chicago, he says the reception ranged from chilly to hostile. Female education researchers in the audience questioned whether helping boys would mean hurting girls.

There is so much wrong here that I do not even know where to begin

Georgia psych facility to close down

The board of directors for University Hospital in Georgia has voted to stop taking psychiatric inpatients Sept. 12 and to close the Behavioral Health Center on Sept. 30.

The move follows a steady decline in the number of mental health patients and services at University, which stopped offering outpatient services in October 2001 and has been unable to recruit psychiatrists to replace those who have retired, officials said.

The unit has gone from having an average of 19 patients a day in 2000 to only 1 or 2 on some days recently, said Jason Moore, the chief operating officer for University.

Another place that is going under.

Forgotten Psychiatric Cemeteries in New York State

The Arts Center of the Capitol Region in Troy, New York will be running a number of Photo and Art exhibitions this fall.

One that is of interest is "Here Lies? Abandoned Asylum Cemeteries in New York" curated by Darby Penney and Mary Zwolinski. More than 50,000 people are buried anonymously in abandoned cemeteries at state-run psychiatric hospitals in New York state. On display through Nov. 23.

The Arts Center of the Capitol Region,
265 River St., Troy. (New York)

Opening reception for fall exhibitions: 5:30 to 8 p.m. Sept. 12, free

As seen in this listing in the Troy Record

Another Psych Hospital is shutting down

The Culpeper Regional Hospital in Virginia has announced that it will close Pinebrooke Psychiatric Center on October 31. As the hospital noted in a news release:

"The board [of trustees] has agreed that while acute psychiatric care is important, it is not financially viable in the current healthcare economic climate ..."

The review also found that psychiatrists have become harder to recruit.

Virginia Psychiatric Medicine, which is owned by Culpeper Regional Hospital and provides psychiatrists and other mental-health staff members for Pinebrooke, will also close Oct. 31.

[which I note that the facilities will be closing on Halloween.]


Thursday, August 28, 2003

Problems with Teachers Diagnosis of ADD in Canada

As seen in this report on

A study of schoolchildren diagnosed with attention deficit disorder found more than half were first diagnosed by their teachers, with some physicians pressured to "rubber stamp" the finding and put the student on medication.

"In the great majority of cases, teachers were the first to suggest the diagnosis. Doctors are busy; they've got a room full of patients. And very seldom do they do their own investigation. They just take a paper from the school saying, 'We think Justin has ADD would you please prescribe Ritalin' and doctors do it. The doctors are acting as a rubber stamp for teachers," Dr. Sax said.

After he interviewed the doctors for his study, many sent comments expanding on their experience.

"One said he did do an evaluation and concluded the child did not have attention deficit disorder [but] the principal of the school then called his superior, angry, and said how dare the doctor question the school's diagnosis, and said the doctor should be disciplined," Dr. Sax said. "He was actually called into his medical director's office to defend his action."

Dr. Sax said half a dozen physicians described similar incidents.

In contrast, in a number of states in the US, teachers have been prohibited from recommending a diagnosis of ADD following concerns children are being over-medicated to control their behaviour.

American Psychiatrists the Butt of Jokes at International Conferance

As reported in this Turkish newspaper

Fear of flying has spread to American psychiatrists after the September 11th attacks and the Iraq war. Invited to the 15th International Group Therapies Congress, 40 American psychiatrists out of 60 could not come to Turkey because of the flying phobia they have. Nearly 700 psychiatrists from around the world were invited to the Congress. The Americans' phobia was the butt of many a joke.

The Psychiatry Congress, held in Lutfu Kirdar Congress Centre, is discussing various topics such as human rights, suicide, sexuality, and domestic violence. During a coffee break after one-hour sessions, experts joked about their peers with the phobia.

physician, can't you heal yourself?

Case Worker Fired in case of death of Linda Padilla

Galveston County Children's Protective Services has fired the caseworker who dismissed a call that reported a bruise under the eye of 2-year-old Linda Padilla. Some background on the Texas case.

A pizza delivery man called an abuse hotline after noticing a bruise under the eye of the 2- year-old at a League City apartment on June 8. The call was taken by the unnamed hotline worker and marked "informational/referral" instead of "abuse and neglect." Padilla was taken to Christus St. John hospital in Nassau Bay on Aug. 8 with a skull fracture, black eyes, broken ribs, a broken pelvis, brain swelling and tears in her rectum and vagina. She died on Aug. 13 after being taken off life support.

The story goes on at some length to detail the extensive qualifications of the staff in Galveston County:

The 222 caseworkers and 31 supervisors who staff the hotline have at least a bachelor's degree, usually in psychology or social work, if not a master's degree in social work. "We subsidize their (master's in social work) through our stipend program," said Olguin. Intake workers, the ones who take calls and reports, undergo six weeks of classroom and on-the-job training. Senior workers then mentor the new one and listen to the telephone conversations and judge how calls are assessed, classified and routed.

It sounds like they do protest too much, and are trying to sell people on their qualifications.

When these might be lacking, despite all of the fancy diplomas and titles.

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Looking for Objectivity in a Salesman

A recently published study funded by Pfizer Inc., which makes Zoloft, states that Zoloft has been found safe and effective in children. You could call this an adventure in being objective in science. There are too many conflicting interests, and obviously it was a PR move.

For a second opinion, you should probably take a look at The International Coalition For Drug Awareness, and check out their opinion on what SSRI's can do to your child. See also this BBC story from last year

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Is ugliness a disease?

Came across this decent article in the Guardian on the new trends in American medicine:

    Something strange is happening in American medicine. No longer is it being used merely to cure illness. Medicine is now being used in the pursuit of happiness. In America, we take Viagra at bedtime and Ritalin before work. We inject Botox into ourwrinkled brows and rub Rogaine on our balding heads. We swallow Paxil for shyness, Prozac for grief, and Buspar for anxiety. For stage fright we use beta blockers; for excessive blushing and sweating, we get endoscopic surgery. We ask surgeons to trim down our noses, suck fat from our thighs, transform us from men to women, even amputate our healthy arms and legs in the pursuit of what some people believe to be their true selves. Twenty years ago, most doctors said no. Now many have changed their minds. [...]

    In the 1999-2000 election cycle, the drug industry spent more money on political lobbying than any other industry, more than the oil and gas industry, more than tobacco, more than the insurance or automobile industry. The drug industry has also ratcheted up its spending on doctors. The number of drug representatives employed to make promotional pitches directly to doctors rose by 57% in the 1990s to a total of 88,000 by the end of the decade. Perhaps most remarkably, the drug industry now funds 40% of continuing medical education in American medical schools.

    Because "enhancement technologies" are usually medical interventions, they must be prescribed or performed by a doctor, not as "enhancements", but as "treatments" for psychological or physical suffering. As drug industry profits have increased, so have the number of new medical disorders, from social anxiety disorder and premenstrual dysphoric disorder to erectile dysfunction and irritable bowel syndrome. The industry sells drugs by selling the illnesses they treat.

Recommended Reading

They finally say they're sorry - an apology for a death in psych ward

It took four years, but a british woman has won a battle for an apology from health trust bosses after her brother's death. They admitted failing to properly care for Reginald Varney, who died on a psychiatric ward run by Notts Healthcare NHS Trust at the Queen's Medical Centre. The 51-year-old was being treated for manic depression but died of heart failure 48 hours after being admitted. Mr Varney's sister, Christine Bradshaw, 51, of Trowell Park, believed he had not been properly cared for. She said staff did not contact her to say her brother was seriously ill and he died alone with no family to comfort him. Mrs Bradshaw had asked for an independent inquiry but was refused.

Monday, August 25, 2003

Another Psych practicing without a license

As reported in the Oakland Tribune

Prominent East Bay psychologist Rita Lynne -- who until last month was board chairwoman of ValleyCare Health System in Pleasanton -- is under investigation for practicing psychology without a license. [...] Lynne served on the ValleyCare board of directors for six years, and was named chairwoman in July 2002. She has a psychology practice at 699 Peters Drive in Pleasanton, and was until last month a longtime member of that city's Economic Vitality Committee, which advises the city council.

Lynne has said in past interviews that she received her master's degree and doctorate in psychology at University of Colorado, Boulder, and a bachelor's degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Calls to those universities showed no record of a Rita Lynne, though it is possible she earned both degrees under another name.

The California state Board of Psychology does not comment on active investigations but confirmed that Lynne is not licensed to practice psychology or marriage counseling. Practicing psychology without a license is a civil offense, but Lynne could also face criminal penalties if there is evidence of fraud.

Promoting mental illness for profit

As Seen in this article in Forbes Magazine:

What makes some products irresistible? Neuroscientists are racing to find the answer to that question--and to pass it along to consumer marketers.

We also have this recent article on how being a shopaholic may be a new mental disease.

So we now have the situation of some mental health professionals being paid to promote or create something that they have declared to be a mental illness.

Psychs promoting or learning to create mental illness for profit?

Oh, the marvels of modern science, and what you can do when you leave out logic and a sense of ethics.

Sunday, August 24, 2003

Just Too Strange

As reported in this article from Birmingham, England, a middle-aged psychology student is dedicating her life to helping notorious child killers, sex offenders and murderers - by falling in LOVE with them. "Sally", 56, sees nothing wrong in the bizarre relationships. She claims instead that they could help the rehabilitation of the monsters behind bars.

    “I was sexually abused by a serious sex offender as a child over a number of years,” she explained. “He was in a position of authority and I was assaulted within what I would call a loving environment.

    “When he dumped me several years later, I thought if I couldn’t love him, I would love men like him. I began to write to some of Britain’s most violent sex offenders.”
Needless to say, the approach has been controversial.

And I would not say that the original decision was all that rational.

Psych Drugs as the "emperor's new clothes"

As seen in the Sydney Morning Herald

Anti-depressant medications may be a case of the "emperor's new clothes", according to studies that show that, in banishing the blues, drugs are only marginally better than a sugar pill. Debate about the value of anti-depressants has spilled into the latest issue of the British Journal of Psychiatry (BJP), which highlights a recent US survey of the results of 19 anti-depressant drug trials. The analysis found that placebos duplicated 80 per cent of the effects of anti-depressants.

"In this analogy, psychiatry is the emperor, drug trials are the fraudsters," according to the BJP.

"The deception is being revealed by a growing body of critical opinion proposing that ... anti-depressants either don't work at all or have an effect that is so small as to be clinically unimportant."

Psychiatrists are defending themselves by saying that just because they are ineffective doesn't mean they don't work.

let's try that again ...

Saturday, August 23, 2003

Investigating a Psychiatric Hospital After Child's Suicide

Authorities are investigating a Champaign, Illinois psychiatric hospital where a 12-year-old hanged himself last week, about two months after he was taken into protective custody because welfare officials feared for his safety at home. The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services is looking into whether The Pavilion properly monitored Ronald Hamilton of Bloomington, Ill., who was under a suicide watch when he hanged himself with bed linen on Aug. 11. He died four days later after being removed from life support.

Psychiatric Patient Found Dead

Ireland's Health Board has begun an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of a psychiatric patient after he had gone missing while under the care of two nurses in County Roscommon. He has been named as 40-year-old John Gallagher of Cresslough, Letterkenny, County Donegal. The man's body was recovered from the River Shannon near Rooskey last night.

Convicted Psych Loses Appeal

Convicted Fall River psychiatrist Kennard C. Kobrin of Barrington, Rhode Island has lost an appeal for a stay of sentence. He was convicted in December of illegally prescribing the tranquilizer Klonopin and defrauding the state Medicaid system

Friday, August 22, 2003

Woman spends ten years 'trapped in hospital'

As seen in this BBC report, bureaucratic wrangles forced a woman with learning difficulties to spend 10 unnecessary years in a mental hospital. Her ordeal started in 1990, when she was sent to the hospital for treatment. She could have been transferred shortly afterwards to a private home, but there were arguments over who should pay - and she did not leave until 2001. During her time in the hospital, she was the victim of a serious sexual assault by a staff member.

The Local Government Ombudsman has ordered Wakefield Council to pay £20,000 in compensation. The ombudsman ruled that "Miss King" had become a victim of arguments between the council and the NHS over who should pay the thousands of pounds needed to care for her in the community.

£20,000 does not seem nearly enough.

Psycopath Program's Head Psych Resigns

Dr. Michael Farnsworth, the head of the Minnesota's treatment program for sexual psychopaths has resigned, but he has denied that he's leaving due to the political furor over a proposal to move some offenders from the program into less restrictive settings. The proposed changes, which ignited a dispute in June between Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Attorney General Mike Hatch, included the eventual move of some sexual psychopaths to halfway houses or other state programs or into the community under state supervision.

The matter has been a political hot potato. Since the dispute erupted, Gov. Pawlenty has issued an executive order making it virtually impossible for sexual psychopaths to be released unless required by a judge or the law.

At a legislative hearing, Anita Schlank, former clinical director of the program, testified that she resigned in June because she felt the proposed changes were partly driven by cost concerns, and, if enacted, would put the community at risk.

Thursday, August 21, 2003

Psychiatrist indicted for $2.1 million fraud scheme

A Cook County grand jury returned an indictment Friday against Soo Tong Park, 57, of Vernon Hills, alleging he defrauded the state of $2.1 million by signing off on medical reports of public aid patients he never saw, or saw only briefly. He also is charged with filing false state income tax returns.

The grand jury indicted Park on two counts of vendor fraud and two counts of theft, both Class 1 felonies punishable by a prison sentence of four to 15 years. He also was charged with two counts of filing fraudulent Illinois income tax returns for the years 2000 and 2001 on income from his arrangement with A. W. Jordan & Associates and Jefferson Professional. Filing a fraudulent return is a Class 4 felony carrying a one to three year prison term.

Illinois Department of Professional Regulations said Monday that Park was licensed in 1983 and was a board certified psychiatrist with no charges pending. Park's telephone number provided to the American Medical Association is no longer in service.

Psych alledged to have caused a "miscarriage of justice in a sex-abuse case"

[In New Zealand] Christchurch psychiatrist Karen Zelas has been found by the Court of Appeal to have "gratuitously" exceeded the scope of permissible expert opinion, causing a miscarriage of justice in a sex-abuse case. Multiple convictions arising from the case have been quashed and a retrial has been ordered. Naming the alleged offender is prohibited as are any aspects of the case that would identify him. Other recent testimony in other cases by Dr. Zelas has also come under recent scrutiny.

Children At Risk Of "Treatment - Emergent Psychiatric Adverse Events"

Came across this cheery paper:

Children Taking Selective Serotonin Re-Uptake Inhibitors At Risk Of Treatment-Emergent Psychiatric Adverse Events

Don't you love that phrase "Treatment-Emergent Psychiatric Adverse Events"

In other words, Bad Things can happen to your kids when they take psych drugs!

Who would have thought?

Psychiatric Prisoner gets pregnant in Melbourne jail.

Two guards at a Melbourne [Australia] jail have been stood down amid allegations a prisoner under psychiatric care had fallen pregnant. A Correctional Services spokesman today confirmed two prison officers were stood down from the Dame Phyllis Frost Centre prison indefinitely on full pay since being accused of separate incidents of sexual misconduct. The Victoria Police prison squad and the Department of Justice were investigating the allegations, the spokesman said. See also this more detailed report

Another Incident at Greystone Park State Psychiatric Hospital

A patient attacked and injured a female employee of Greystone Park State Psychiatric Hospital [in New Jersey] after forcing his way into her office on Monday according to state police. The incident marked the latest in a series of incidents, including employee attacks, patient-employee fights, and mysterious patient deaths and escapes. Police charged Eugene Hardy, 38, with aggravated assault and criminal sexual contact. The employee, believed to be Hardy's psychiatrist, was treated for a back injury at Morristown Memorial Hospital and released. Hardy, who lived in Essex County until his civil commitment to Greystone in 1999, did not have a history of criminal conduct.

To be fair, these incidents have been less frequent since 1997, when the state Human Services Department barred the practice of detaining patients charged with serious crimes. Fights among patients and employees had been commonplace throughout the 1990s as the patient population climbed to nearly 700.

In 2000, Gov. Christie Whitman announced the state would close the troubled hospital.

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Two-thirds of all drugs prescribed for children have never been adequately studied for safety

Pediatricians are forced to engage in risky "trial-and-error" medicine when they give drugs to children because two-thirds of all drugs they routinely prescribe have never been adequately studied on kids, according to a study by Food and Drug Administration researchers to be published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association. What's more, when certain drugs developed for adults were methodically tested in children, researchers found previously unknown safety risks, including higher incidences of death, seizures, and suicidal thoughts, according to new data contained in the study.

This is obviously a major problem, and does not even take into account the unknown effects of mind control, anti-depressant, and other psychotropic drugs that are being prescribed for children.

Anti-Depressants may have driven killer's rage

People are starting to wonder if the assaination of Councilman James Davis by Othniel Askew can be blamed on side effects of the drug paxil. this according to an editorial in the New York Post that has been picked up by Yahoo news, and cites several other cases.

Donald Schell, 60, of Wyoming was also the picture of calm in 1998 - until he was prescribed Paxil. On Feb. 14 of that year, he used a .22-caliber gun and .357 magnum to shoot and kill his sleeping wife, their daughter and his 9-month-old granddaughter, before committing suicide. The family filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Wyoming which blamed the drug and ordered the maker, GlaxoSmithKline, to pay the family $8 million. Van Syckel sued the drug maker two weeks ago.

See also this earlier NY Post story on one mother's call to ban paxil

[with a tip of the hat to Alex Chernavsky]

Psychologist faces third sex assault charge

A suspended Pittsburgh Public Schools psychologist already awaiting trial for two separate sex assault cases was arrested again Tuesday night on charges stemming from a third sexual assault. Donald Stettner, 47, of Spring Hill, was arrested on charges of indecent assault, endangering the welfare of a child and corruption of minors for allegations involving a girl who is now a teenager, investigators said. A handicapped girl Stettner once considered adopting has accused him of molesting her. UpdateSee also this story on the more recent charges.

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

The Dark Side of Antidepressants

As seen in this report on WVLT 8 TV in Knoxville, Tennessee

Internal documents of Eli Lilly and Co., some dating to the mid-1980s, as well as government applications and patents, indicate that the pharmaceutical giant has known for years that its best-selling drug could cause suicidal reactions in a small but significant number of patients. The reports could become critical as Lilly seeks government approval for its new Prozac.

Among the findings:

--Internal documents show that in 1990, Lilly scientists were pressured by corporate executives to alter records on physician experiences with Prozac, changing mentions of suicide attempt to ``overdose'' and suicidal thoughts to ``depression.''

--Three years before Prozac received approval by the US Food and Drug Administration in late 1987, the German BGA, that country's FDA equivalent, had such serious reservations about Prozac's safety that it refused to approve the antidepressant based on Lilly's studies showing that previously nonsuicidal patients who took the drug had a fivefold higher rate of suicides and suicide attempts than those on older antidepressants, and a threefold higher rate than those taking placebos.

--Lilly's own figures, in reports made available to the Globe, indicate that 1 in 100 previously nonsuicidal patients who took the drug in early clinical trials developed a severe form of anxiety and agitation called akathisia, causing them to attempt or commit suicide during the studies.

--A McLean Hospital researcher and associate professor at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Martin Teicher, whose early 1990s studies linked Prozac to akathisia and suicide, is a co-inventor of the new Prozac, which Lilly plans to market, along with Timothy J. Barberich, the CEO of Sepracor Inc., a Marlborough, Mass. drug company, and James W. Young.

--A just-published book, ``Prozac Backlash,'' by a Cambridge psychiatrist, Dr. Joseph Glenmullen, has drawn Lilly's ire for discussing Prozac's link to suicide, tics, withdrawal symptoms, and other side effects of Prozac and similar antidepressants.

Extensive details and documents quoted at the link.

Judge awards murderer damages from Psych Facility

As seen in this report from Australia

Within hours of being released from a psychiatric hospital, Kevin Presland stabbed his prospective sister-in-law to death, nearly decapitating her in his frenzy.

Yesterday, he was set to receive $300,000 in damages, after the Supreme Court found Hunter Area Health Service and a psychiatric registrar had breached their duty of care by failing to detain him in Newcastle's James Fletcher psychiatric hospital. If he had been detained, it would have averted the "appalling" death of 25-year-old Kelley-Anne Laws in 1995 and Mr Presland's subsequent trial and 2 years in jail and in a psychiatric unit at Long Bay. [...]

Justice Adams said the Mental Health Act was clear that people who needed to be detained for their own or others' safety should be detained. [He] criticised the hospital's records, saying that the police escort statement about Mr Presland's behaviour could not be found, indicating a communication breakdown at the hospital. He said the psychiatric registrar, Dr Jacob Nazarian, "did not see any psychotic illness or a psychiatric disorder [when assessing Mr Presland] . . . because he did not conscientiously look for them". "I regret to say that I think Dr Nazarian was merely going through the motions, and, even then, only some of them."

It is understood Kevin Presland has moved to Queensland and is working as an electrician. And meanwhile, the family has received the maximum $50,000 in victim compensation for the death of their loved one. Maybe they should sue the psych hospital.

And I admit, it seems there is something odd in Australian law here

Chinese Psych arrested for drugging female patients and selling them off as wives

Chinese police have arrested the director of a psychiatric hospital for drugging female patients and selling them off as wives. Dr Wang Chaoying, head of a mental hospital in Huazhou in southern Guangdong, had made more than 20 transactions since 1998 in which he sold patients as wives for "thousands of yuan." "He was arrested for selling women. The case is still under investigation," according to Ruan Rongzhi, a police officer in Huazhou, in a conversation with Reuters. He declined to give details.

Monday, August 18, 2003

Followup on Psych Scandal at Northwestern Institute

Currently a grand jury is investigating patient care at the Northwestern Institute of Psychiatry in Pennsylvania. The investigation is in regards to the arrest of three employees over the past nine months for sexual encounters with juvenile patients.

The assault arrest of psychiatric technician Jackie Glover, 35, of the 1300 block of Farrington Road, Philadelphia, Aug. 5 is the fourth so far at the facility. According to an Aug. 6 press release from the county District Attorney's office, in November 2002, psychiatric technician Eugene Stallworth was convicted of charges involving a sexual encounter with a 16-year-old female inpatient. In April 2003, psychiatric technicians Alexander DeMary and William Harper were arrested and charged with institutional sexual assault and related charges involving a sexual encounter with two female inpatients, a 15-year-old and a 16-year-old, respectively, at Northwestern.

Read the news story at the link for a detailed recap of the horror story.

Psychiatrist involved in Wheelchair Fraud

A complex Medicare scam has been exposed in Texas.

The only doctor to have accounts frozen so far has been Lewis Gottlieb, whose Medicare enrollment shows him as a psychiatry and family practice specialist, the FBI said. According to the prosecutor's complaint, Gottlieb was paid more than $2 million by Medicare in 2002 for 25,121 claims. That is an average of 68.8 claims per day, seven days a week, prosecutors said.

The twist on this one is that it is not just your regular case of drugs, etc., but it involves high end wheel chairs. Taxpayers have been getting billed more than $5,000 for a motorized wheelchair, even though a less-expensive scooter is often delivered and frequently isn't even needed. The scope of the mess is amazing.

Lawyer suing Psychologist

In Australia a prominent Brisbane lawyer is suing a psychologist he believes had a sexual relationship with his wife at a time when he was giving the couple marriage guidance.

Michael Vincent Baker, a principal of Baker Johnson Lawyers, alleges his former wife Gayle Baker had a sexual relationship with psychologist Owen Pershouse during almost three months in 1993 while they were receiving marriage counselling. Mr Baker is suing Mr Pershouse for almost $233,000, including $50,000 in punitive damages and almost $183,000 in legal and accountancy fees incurred during divorce proceedings brought by his then wife.

Sunday, August 17, 2003

Rise in violent crime not linked to mental illness

As seen in this story in the New Zealand Herald

The study, Myth and reality: the relationship between mental illness and homicide in New Zealand [Report Link Here], examined the files of 1501 murderers between 1970 and 2000. It found 133, or 8.9 per cent, were judged not fit to stand trial or not guilty by reason of insanity, in line with rates for low homicide countries internationally.

But an interesting trend emerged. Although the number of murders has tripled, from fewer than 20 a year in the early seventies to between 50 and 70 in recent years, the number of killings by the mentally ill has remained steady - and is usually less than six a year.

The study is one of only four in the world to look at time trends in homicides, and is touted to be the most comprehensive. Researchers satisfied ethical and privacy concerns to cross-match data from the police, coroners' office, Ministry of Health, Justice Department, Parole Board and New Zealand Herald archives.

So what explains the rise in violent crime?

The problem of murder

As seen in this story about a murderer named "John Doe"

In 1994, Doe brutally murdered a family member with a knife in Maricopa County. He plead guilty except insane and was sent to the Arizona State Hospital to be restored to sanity. Pleading guilty to the murder of his relative, Doe would have spent 25 years to life in prison. But by pleading guilty except insane, Doe was sent to the state hospital. And instead of spending 25 years in custody, Doe is now out of the state hospital and back into society a mere eight years later.


The Flagstaff resident is a relative of Doe, who plead guilty except insane soon after the law was created. He does not want to use his name or Doe's real name for fear Doe will read about himself, recognize it is him and possibly retaliate against the family. "We were led to believe by the prosecution and defense that he would remain at the state hospital for the remainder of his sentence," the relative said. "And if he were to be restored to sanity, he would be returned to the jurisdiction of the justice system."

That is not what happened.

Has a promise of justice been broken?

Friday, August 15, 2003

Another Case of Psychiatric Fraud in Illinois

A suburban doctor has been indicted for allegedly defrauding the state of roughly $2.1 million by signing off on medical reports for public aid patients he never saw, or saw only briefly. Soo Tong Park, 57, of 1253 Christine Ct. in Vernon Hills, was indicted by the Cook County grand jury on two counts of vendor fraud, two counts of income tax fraud and one count of theft.

Beginning in the mid-1990s, Park signed fraudulent patient reports, claiming he had provided psychiatric counseling to Illinois Department of Public Aid recipients, according to an Illinois Attorney General's office news release.

English psychiatric patient found dead, hung from a tree

An Exeter (England) psychiatric hospital is carrying out an internal inquiry after one of its patients was found hanged from a tree within its grounds.

Voluntary patient Andrew Simm disappeared from Wonford House last Monday but his body was not discovered until eight days later. Dr Paul Cawthron, medical director for Devon Partnership NHS Trust, said all the correct procedures were followed when 26-year-old Mr Simm failed to return to the hospital after signing out.

But he added: "The trust takes very seriously any untoward incident and the importance of learning from such a tragic event. Trust policies and procedures are regularly reviewed and an internal inquiry into this tragic event will be carried out."

It will be the second inquiry connected to the death of patients to take place within the last 12 months.

Thursday, August 14, 2003

Town undecided on what to do with closed psych hospital

The Fairfield State Hospital in Connecticut was established in 1933, and was closed in 1995. Facilities included a large farm, a sewage treatment plant and a dozen major buildings as well as staff housing. In 1998, Fairfield Hills consisted of 100 buildings on a 185-acre campus. Fairfield Hills was one of the largest mental health facilities in the state until it closed its door in 1995. At its peak it housed over 4,000 patients. The main campus consists mostly of large 2-3 story buildings ranging in size from 15,000-200,000 square feet. There are alot other smaller buildings on the edge of the campus that had served as living quarters for staff. Architecturally, the buildings of the complex are more interesting than many other institutional buildings built during the 1930s.

The Newtown, Connecticut community currently has plans underway to find new uses for the complex. As seen in this report, the town is still discussing what to do with the facility, having rejected the most recent master plan from the Planning and Zonning Commision. More details here

Fairfield Hills had a reputation for problems between administrators and employees as well as other unpleasant issues such as patient escapes, mistreatment of patients, and mysterious deaths.

There are an unusual number of websites dedicated to the former facility.

Psych Hospital - Missing money to be repaid.

The former superintendent at Larue Carter Psychiatric Hospital is now agreeing to pay $35,000 to the state for mishandling a half-million-dollar estate gift. Diana Haugh was being sued by the state for $42,000 in lost interest after she failed to deposit the funds. The money was kept secret for two years until state auditors discovered it.

See the full reports on the financial mismanagement here (One, Two, Three)

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Psych says being a crook does not disqualify him for his current job

A psychologist reprimanded and suspended by New Jersey’s Board of Psychological Examiners for a litany of offenses still managed to get a job as director of Trenton’s state-funded heroin detox center. State officials expressed concern over the appointment of Dr. Luis R. Nieves,who was hired by the New Horizon Treatment Center on Perry Street in January 2001 while still under the requirements of a three-year suspension that kicked off in May 1998. According to state records obtained by The Trentonian, Nieves was fined more than $20,000 after being found guilty on 10 counts of professional misconduct and negligence. Nieves insists that the decision by the Board of Psychological Examiners, and his subsequent suspension, have no bearing on his ability to carry out his duties in his current position. "It does not in any way," Nieves insisted.

As seen in the original report for the original offenses:

"His conduct clearly was unprofessional and unethical in that his exploitation of the services of (employees) and his subsequent abandonment and retaliation against at least one demonstrates to the board that Nieves’ sole motivation was for his own personal financial benefit"

I feel so much better now. (not)

Insurance Fraud Ring Broken Up

Hundreds of people -- including doctors, lawyers, chiropractors and psychologists -- have been indicted on insurance fraud and other charges involving millions of dollars in claims on staged auto accidents that prosecutors say was part of an organized crime ring with links to Russia. Nearly 600 indictments have been filed in connection with the Brooklyn-based fraud ring, and further charges are likely, Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota said Tuesday. The charges follow a yearlong investigation into accidents that took place on Long Island and in New York City, Spota said. Only 86 defendants have been arraigned so far, but the remaining indictments are expected to be unsealed in the coming days and weeks. A grand jury on Long Island has issued 567 indictments, 86 of which were made public at a news conference in New York . Those indicted included doctors, psychiatrists, chiropractors, dentists and nearly 20 bogus health-care clinics that were set up as part of the scheme to defraud State Farm Insurance, according to Suffolk County district attorney, Thomas J. Spota.

The medical professionals were given a cut from the insurance payoff in return for their cooperation with the scam.

Of course, I am interested in the fact that psychiatrists and psychologists were arrested. You would think that such profesions would take a strong interest in promoting ethical behavior. However, as documented elsewhere, they do not seem to be.

Monday, August 11, 2003

Psychiatrist Stabs a Top Italian Psychologist

Italian police have arrested a former psychiatrist for stabbing to death a psychologist who had reportedly recommended he be committed to a hospital for treatment of mental illness. Italian state television broke into its newscast on August 7th to report the arrest of Arturo Geoffroy, 47, who had just taken a dip in the sea at a beach in Camogli, near Genoa. Lorenzo Bignamini, 42, a psychologist at a Milan hospital, was chased and stabbed in the heart on Saturday on a Milan street as bystanders watched in horror. Lorenzo Bignamini had been President of the Societa Italiana Di Psicologia Clinica Medica [Italian Society of Medical Clinical Psychology].

Sunday, August 10, 2003

Unlicensed psychiatrist testified in hundreds of court cases in Ohio

A psychiatrist who testified hundreds of times in Ohio courtrooms on whether people should be committed to mental institutions has not renewed his license since 1976, a newspaper reported Sunday. After discovering that John G. Randall was not licensed, the court reviewed all his cases where someone remains institutionalized or hospitalized. There were fewer than a dozen. where people are still being held.

Lawyers used John G. Randall’s expert opinion in Franklin County Probate Court and in courtrooms in other Ohio counties. He was called upon so often that, since 1998, Franklin County had paid him $205,900 The testimony of a licensed physician is needed to commit someone against their will.

I can imagine the legal damages vs the unlicensed shrink, and against the state.

The news story conveys a sense of "oops", with no sense of the damages that could be assessed, and no sense of outrage at the unlcensed doctor.

The incarceration of a 6 year old in a psych hospital

The Palm Beach Post has a horror story about the incarceration of a 6 year old in a psych hospital.

The state of Florida locked away Isaiah White 11 months ago. They confined him in a place they call the "quiet room." They held him down and injected him with powerful drugs. They forced him into full-body restraints as he wriggled on the floor.

He was 6 years old.


The state has billed Medicaid more than $100,000 for his treatment.

Child advocates are alarmed by Isaiah's case. Why, they ask, did the state treat a frightened first-grader like a psychotic adult? Is there no better way to discipline a 75-pound child?

"There is something seriously wrong with our mental health system," said Gerard Glynn, executive director of Florida's Children First, a coalition that represents children in state custody. "It is appalling.... I cannot understand, in a civilized society, locking up a 6-year-old child. Period."

It get's worse as you read it. It documents the slow destruction of a child

An alarming number of Massachusetts psychiatrists have been having sex with their patients

Boston magazine has an article about the fact that an " alarming number of Massachusetts psychiatrists have gotten caught again and again having sex with some of this society's most vulnerable people: their own patients." First seen in the June 2003 issue, the article has now appeared online. (Now with an updated link)

Highlights/lowlights include:

Of the Massachusetts doctors who have lost their licenses for sexual misconduct with patients, almost half — 26 — were psychiatrists. And all but one were men. The exception: Dr. Margaret Bean-Bayog, who resigned her medical license in 1992 after a Harvard medical student she had treated — and with whom, by many accounts, she had shared intense sexual fantasies — committed suicide.

It is interesting to note that only about 7% of physicians are psychiatrists, but in Massachusetts, the abuse rate is fourteen times higher than that for conventional doctors. You would think it would be just seven times higher, but these are male doctors, vs the entire male and female physician population. Roughly 3.5% of all physycians are male psychiatrists, who account for about 50% of the physicians removed due to sexual abuse.

And they don't know why this is so. Despite apparent intensive training in school that this is not a good idea. And Boston is one of the psych training capitols of the world.

Update But this paper shows 37,838 psychiatrists in 1999, vs 797,634 total physicians in the US for the same year. which puts the percentage of physicians who are also psychiatrists at 4.7 percent. Meaning that if Massachusetts follows the national average, psychiatrists are, in general, more than ten times more likely to be a sexual offender compared to your average physician.

Saturday, August 09, 2003

Ongoing Re-Developement Plans for Closed Harlem Valley Psychiatric Center and Grounds

The Harlem Valley Psychiatric Center (HVPC) in Wingdale, New York was was closed in February 1994 by then NY governor Mario Cuomo. Various groups have been involved in the plans to sell off the facility, and on Nov. 17, 1999 the sale was approved for $3.95 million to TP Enterprises LLC, now Pearson Partners. The development options include residential facilities, senior living facility, retail, office and/or light industrial facilities. In November 1999 the office of Governor George Pataki said that these developments could bring more than $80 million in private sector investment and creation of more than 500 jobs to the surrounding area. Today, there is a nine-hole golf course that is used by the Harlem Valley Golf Club. There are 70-acres set aside for agricultural use and two of the area's most important environmental resources, the Swamp River and the Great Swamp, are on the grounds. The Application Trail, which passes through the property, is surrounded by a federal easement . The site has made it into the local papers with the prospects of further development involving the Harlem Valley Partnership, which has been working with the buyer to develop a list of grants that could be used towards the redevelopment of the property. The Partnership has been even been in contact with a nationally-known artist to house a huge mural on the grounds.

Texas parents now need court order to commit their children.

The Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation has issued new rules limiting the ability of parents in Texas to commit their children to a psychiatric institution. Starting Sept. 1, parents must approach a judge, who is the only one who can legally commit children under 18 to psychiatric hospitals. State mental health officials say it comes down to money.

Parents had often used psychiatric services instead of calling the police so that their children would not have a criminal record. Previously, there was a "quick and easy" method of commitment, with little apparent cost to the parents. Now the commitment process will include about $450 in court costs.

Texas psychiatrists are outraged. I can imagine what this does to their profit margin.

People may want to read the book Cruel Compassion: Psychiatric Control of Society's Unwanted by Dr. Thomas Szasz, as well as his book Liberation by Oppression - A Comparative Study of Slavery and Psychiatry, to get a better view on the issues.

Psychologist license suspended for Crazy Behavior

A California state administrative judge has suspended the license of Susan Elizabeth Kuehl, 37, a psychologist who worked at the Patton State Mental Hospital in San Bernardino over questions about her mental health and behavior. The California Board of Psychology is seeking to permanently revoke her license for unprofessional conduct, She has been charged in San Bernardino Superior Court with burglary and a public-records violation for allegedly breaking into hospital offices and stealing confidential personnel files, according to Miles Bristow, a spokesman for the California Department of Consumer Affairs. Kuehl's license was suspended Aug. 1, after a judge determined that to let her continue practicing would threaten the safety and welfare of patients.

Friday, August 08, 2003

Debate Resumes on the Safety of Depression's Wonder Drugs

The New York Times has picked up on the story about the safety of Paxil being seriously questioned. Word is that is was a front page news item.

Doctors are just beginning to react to the finding — reported first by British drug authorities in June and then endorsed the next week by the Food and Drug Administration — that unpublished studies about Paxil show that it carries a substantial risk of prompting teenagers and children to consider suicide.

Because the studies also found that Paxil was no more effective than a placebo in treating young people's depression, the regulators recommended that doctors write no new Paxil prescriptions for patients under 18. Experts say that the suicide risk is highest in the first few weeks young patients are on the drug.


And the findings have unsettled some of the very experts who absolved S.S.R.I.'s of a link to suicide a dozen years ago. Of the 10 American specialists who, as members of an ad hoc F.D.A. panel, formally cleared the drugs of a link to suicide in 1991, seven now say that the new information would prompt them to reconsider that decision, if they were asked.

Let's see, ineffective, and harmful to boot? Sounds like a no-brainer to me.

Thursday, August 07, 2003

Psychiatrist License suspended over sex abuse allegations

Dr. Arthur Palladino Jr. an Amherst, Massachusetts psychiatrist with offices are at 48 North Pleasant St. in Amherst, has had his medical license suspended after allegations that he engaged in sexual relationships with two female patients. The Board of Registration in Medicine also charges that Palladino also engaged in recreational use of prescription narcotics and illicit drugs with the patient.

In May, a 43-year-old female patient, who had heard action was pending against Palladino, contacted the board and said she had a sexual relationship with him that began in 1989 and lasted four years, according to Nancy Achin Audesse, executive director of the board.

On Feb. 8, 2001, the patient revealed to Palladino a sexual involvement with the referring psychologist. He then said he had feelings for her and they hugged and held hands, Audesse said. They later engaged in sexual intercourse at Palladino's home, Audesse said.

{This story was first published in the Providence Journal, but the above link in the Daily Hampshire Gazette has far more information]

Psychiatrist sued for 'sexual explotation'

A Cincinnati woman and her soon-to-be ex-husband are suing her former psychiatrist, accusing him of "sexual exploitation" during her treatment. Phyllis Blum has sued Dr. Richard E. Bibb, saying the medicine he prescribed for her wasn't helping and instead made her less able to fend off his sexual advances. As a result, the suit notes, she had sex with her psychiatrist, something that has resulted in her husband wanting to divorce her. The husband, physician Barry Blum, has also sued Bibb in a separate action.

Inquiry finds British National Health Service 'racist to the core'

A probe into the death of a schizophrenic man at a mental health clinic near Norwich has slammed the NHS as "racist to the core". Racism and outdated techniques have been blamed for the death of David 'Rocky' Bennett. Mr Bennett, 38, died while being held face-down in the Norvic Clinic, in Thorpe St Andrew, in October 1998, after fighting with a fellow patient and hitting a nurse. On the final day of an independent inquiry sanctioned by the Government, the National Health Service was accused of institutional racism.

Sadiq Khan, the lawyer of Dr Joanna Bennett, Mr Bennett's sister, who lectures on the care of psychiatric patients, said: "We believe there is a hierarchy among NHS patients, with young black men at the bottom. There is a stark difference in the treatment of a young black man and a middle-aged white man, with the same symptoms or condition. The way black people are treated is staggering — we are in no doubt there is institutional racism in the National Health Service."

Now there is proof

Shutting Down A Psychiatric Hospital

Saint Francis Care Behavioral Health has announced the effective shutdown of the Portland Psychiatric Campus at 25 Marlborough St. in Portland, Connecticut, moving the remaing patients to other facilities. As recently as the late 1990s, the facility was one of the state’s largest private psychiatric hospitals.

In recent years, the facility has been rocked by controversy. In 1997, 11-year-old Andrew McClain died from traumatic asphyxia and chest compression while being restrained at the facility, when it was operated as Elmcrest. In January 2000, a female patient died after suffering cardiac arrest at the facility. According to the medical examiner, she died of "acute mixed drug intoxication." An investigation showed that she was taking as many as 12 different medications a day.

Last September, the state Department of Children and Families terminated a $9.8 million contract with the facility. Prior to the termination of the contract, however, records indicate that the state had investigated 34 incidents at the facility since the start of the contract.

According to papers filed with OHCA, St. Francis experienced an operating loss of $10,657,139 in fiscal year 2002, and is projected to experience an operating loss of $2.488 million in fiscal year 2004, even without the proposal to relocate the Chapman Unit to Hartford.

Officials from St. Francis Care Behavioral Health said the investigation and controversies in recent years have no bearing on the decision to relocate the remaining outpatient services at the Portland Campus to the Mt. Sinai Campus in Hartford.

St. Francis leases the facility from Portland. A local official hopes a new tenant will lease or sub-lease the facility. "It’s a very beautiful campus, so we are hopeful that there will be interest. The facility is obviously geared towards being a hospital, but that’s not to say that it couldn’t be used for other purposes," he said.

Maybe something more productive.

Classifying Internet Use as an Illness

Excessive Internet use could be classified as a new psychiatric disorder that could effect businesses, researchers at University of Florida said. In an article in "Current Psychiatry," UF researchers presented five points to help practitioners understand patients' Internet use. They correspond to the acronym MOUSE:

More than intended time spent online;
Other responsibilities neglected;
Unsuccessful attempts to cut down;
Significant relationships discord;
Excessive thoughts or anxiety when not online.

Can anyone take these guys seriously? Doesn't this describe any compulsion? Next thing you know, there'll be a drug fix for it.

jeese. Of course, I bet they have a bunch of drugs with which to treat it.

Wednesday, August 06, 2003

Psychiatric Solutions, Inc - Rising Profits vs Rising Levels of Patient Abuse

Psychiatric Solutions, Inc. ("PSI") has announced financial results for the second quarter and six months ended June 30, 2003. Revenue increased 154% for the second quarter to $57,438,000 from $22,617,000 for the second quarter of 2002.

This is the same company that has run into extraordinary problems with abuse of young women in the Florida Institue for Girls, as seen in this earlier note on this site.

Stockholders may be pleased that the priorities are in the right place. Personally, I am disturbed.

New Charges In Grand Jury Probe of Northwestern Institute of Psychiatry

A Pennsylvania grand jury investigating alleged misconduct at a suburban psychiatric hospital has indicted a worker on charges that he challenged a 14-year-old patient to a fight, then beat the youth so severely that he needed stitches. The psychiatric technician, Jack Glover, 35, of Philadelphia, is the fourth employee of the Northwestern Institute of Psychiatry to be charged with abusing a patient in two years.

The charges come on the heels of three other complaints against staff at the medical center, which also goes by the name Progressions Hospital.

In November a worker accused of having sex with a 16-year-old female patient was convicted on a charge of corrupting a minor. In April, two psychiatric technicians were charged with institutional sexual assault after they were accused, in separate cases, of having sexual encounters with two female patients, aged 15 and 16. State officials threatened to take away the hospital's license in June, but recently agreed to let it keep operating under stricter supervision.

If this keeps up, they may have to change their mind.

[more information can be seen here]

Lawsuit Filed Over 1939 Stuttering Study

As seen in this newsday report

For six months, Mary Nixon and 10 other orphans were relentlessly belittled for every little imperfection in their speech to test the theory that children become stutterers because of psychological pressure.

Sixty-four years later, the experience still stings.

Nixon, now 76, and some of the other test subjects sued the University of Iowa earlier this year over lifelong psychological problems they say stem in part from the 1939 experiment.

There is an extensive report on the horrors of this insanity. Note that all the children in the study were normal when the study began, and the study attempted to induce the children into becoming stutterers. Techniques included belittling the chilkdren and destroying their self esteem.

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

2nd Circuit Overrules Vermont State Law on Forced Medication

On Friday the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down a portion of a 1998 Vermont state law known as Act 114, which established a process by which certain mentally ill Vermonters could be involuntarily medicated. The federal appeals court upheld an earlier district court decision, ruling that a section of Act 114 was discriminatory. That portion involved the rights of patients who sign a durable power of attorney (DPOA), which include instructions for their care, while they are still deemed competent.

It seems to be that if you have a durable power of attorney, the state is now far less able to ignore your wishes, and simply drug you up.

An injunction already has been in place barring the state from enforcing the portion of Act 114 involving patients who have prepared a durable power of attorney.

The full decision is docket number 02-7160 and is available online at the 2nd Circuit Website

American Gallery of Psychiatric Art: Sanity for Sale: 1960-2000,

As reviewed here by Craig Stoltz

American Gallery of Psychiatric Art: Sanity for Sale: 1960-2000

Here's a couple of nippets:

Some of the imagery is spectacularly revealing about drug makers' and clinicians' developing views of the mentally ill.


If the gallery makes you think psychiatry is moving entirely out of the Dark Ages, take a look at the final ad, from the '90s, for something called the Thymatron DGx brief pulse electroconvulsive therapy machine. Its headline: "Quality ECT, at last."

I shudder.

Lawsuit over antidepressant Paxil and teenage suicide

The family of Michelle Van Syckel is suing both her doctors and GlaxoSmithKline, the maker of Paxil, charging that her downward spiral into depression was made dramatically worse by the very medication prescribed to treat it. The case, part of a growing body of evidence linking Paxil to suicidial thoughts and actions in the children who take it, could have far-reaching implications for the treatment of depression in adolescents.

The Van Syckel case and others like it have prompted regulators to act. In June, the US Food and Drug Administration, in an unprecedented decision, recommended that doctors stop prescribing Paxil to new patients under the age of 18 and advised parents to consult a doctor if their children are currently taking Paxil.

A Wyoming family won a $6.4 million dollar lawsuit against GlaxoSmithKline in 2000 after a man taking Paxil shot his wife, daughter, and grandaughter. The jury found there was enough scientific evidence to find Paxil primarily responsible for the violence.

Company spokesmen are naturally trying to minimise the concern.

Information from the Boston Globe story at the Link

Monday, August 04, 2003

Skyrocketing Mental Health Disability claims in Switzerland

As seen in this report from Switzerland

The number of people claiming disability benefit for mental health problems has tripled in Switzerland over the past ten years, with over 70,000 claimants in 2002. There are fears that the explosion in disability handouts could cripple the state’s invalidity insurance fund.

Until recently, the main causes of disability were physical illness, accidents or congenital disabilities. But there has recently been a sharp rise in mental health problems, such as depression, neuroses, insomnia and panic attacks. “A third of those who qualify for disability benefit are claiming for mental health reasons,” says Brigitte Breitenmoser, deputy director of the Federal Social Insurance Office.

So the question is, where is this rise in claims coming from, given the earlier articles published in this weblog.

Sunday, August 03, 2003

38 stories

Just a quick count by eye jumping throught the blog archives, I have come up with 38 stories documenting some sort of allegation of misdeeds on the part of mental health professionals and institutions since this site started at the beginning of July. Accounting for followup stories, this amounts to at least 30 professionals and or professional institutions in this time period.

I was a little worried about finding stuff to fill the pages here when I started.

I now have no such worry.

It is obvious that there is an epidemic of psychiatric abuse.

I suspect that there are more mental health professionals abusing the system and people then there are priests and ministers who are abusers. [I think that the church systems were used to hide the problem for too long. ]

And in some cases, the psychiatrists who approved problem priests and ministers for church service were later also accused of child abuse

More comment later as the picture takes shape

WhistleBlower Lawsuit over Drug Companies Promotional Tactics

The lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Boston alleges that Neurontin's manufacturer, Parke-Davis, and parent company, Warner Lambert, which merged with Pfizer two years ago, flouted federal law in the 1990s with an illegal marketing plan intended to drive up Neurontin's sales.

David Franklin's lawsuit is being closely watched by both the drug industry and its critics, who say pharmaceutical companies have become well-versed in using subtle tactics for increasing sales of drugs for other uses than the Food and Drug Administration has not yet approved -- a practice known as "off-label" uses. Franklin, who worked as a Parke-Davis drug liaison for less than five months in 1996 and now works at Natick-based Boston Scientific, claims the company adopted a strategy to create a drumbeat of publicity about Neurontin's effectiveness for unapproved uses such as pain, headaches and psychiatric illnesses -- defrauding the government in the process by encouraging doctors to write prescriptions and seek Medicaid reimbursement.

The federal government, 11 states -- including Massachusetts -- and the District of Columbia have joined Franklin's complaint, which has provided a rare look at the tactics drug companies use to provide information about different uses of new drugs to the very people responsible for prescribing them.

As described in the original news story, some of the stuff sounds an awful lot like bribing reputable doctors to put their names on papers instead written by the company. Some of the side effects of Neurontin include memory loss, abnormal thinking, and difficulty with vision.

A Psychiatric Conflict of Interest

Two scientists are raising concerns about an article in a medical journal that described experimental treatments for depression because an author did not disclose his significant financial ties to three therapies that he mentioned favorably. Dr. Charles G. Jennings, executive editor of the Nature Research Journals, which includes Nature Neuroscience, where the article appeared, said they had not required disclosure of the potential conflicts, but were considering changing its policy in light of the criticism.

The ties between pharmaceutical companies and researchers have come under increasing scrutiny in recent years.

Specifically, the lead author of the article, Dr. Charles B. Nemeroff, chairman of the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Emory School of Medicine in Atlanta, mentioned roughly two dozen potential new therapies, saying that some had shown disappointing results and that others were promising. One treatment he describes favorably is a patch that delivers lithium through the skin, a method that he says would improve patients' ability to tolerate the medicine. He did not disclose that he held the patent on that patch.

Dr. Nemeroff also did not disclose that he was a significant shareholder in Corcept Therapeutics, a company in Menlo Park, Calif., that is trying to develop mifepristone, a drug now approved to induce abortions, into a treatment for psychotic depression. In the article, he wrote that there had been "impressive studies" with mifepristone, indicating that it "is very effective in the treatment of psychotic depression."

Nothing personal. It's only money. and doesn't everybody do it?


Saturday, August 02, 2003

Suicides at Napa State Hospital

Napa State Hospital is licensed as an acute psychiatric care hospital in California and provides acute psychiatric, skilled nursing, intermediate, and outpatient services

Authorities are investigating two suicides at Napa State Hospital that occurred on the same ward. Autopsies revealed the men died from hanging, according to sheriff's Captain Gene Lyerla . The deaths happened at the Q 1 and 2 ward in the hospital. Hospital spokeswoman Lupe Rincon said in both suicides, the men were seen alive and well by staff within 15 to 30 minutes before their deaths.

Several unnatural deaths at Napa State Hospital in recent years raise serious questions about the quality of care at the hospital. But families who have protested the deaths of their sons, or sued the hospital in federal and state courts, have found little relief.

Friday, August 01, 2003

Prisoners benefit greatly from Educational TV

In the good news and using common sense department:

The New Jersey correctional system has taken control of the TV Programs that prisoners watch on the internal prison TV system, filling the programming with educational programming, and throwing out the trash daytime TV talk shows.

This has been all to excellent results.

Jenny Jones, Jerry Springer, and other inmate favorites are gone for good from the TV sets in New Jersey's 14 prisons. In their place are history, health and cultural documentaries, along with self-help programs and selected cable TV shows.

The effort, apparently unique to New Jersey, is designed to use television to get inmates to think more about the world around them, where they fit in, and how they can contribute in a positive way when they are eventually set free.


"The goal is to monopolize as much of their television time as possible with educational programs," she said. "Hopefully, we will be able to make a difference in some of their lives."

It already has for some, said Abdul Abdul-ghaffar, 37, who is serving time for attempted murder and drug offenses.

"It helps me understand that life outside of prison is better than I knew it was," said Abdul-ghaffar, who hopes to some day establish a home-improvement business. "It shows me there is room for change and that I can do something positive once I leave here."

Education is one of the primary ways that a person's life can be changed for the better.

And from the sounds of it, it has done far more good than all of those dollars spent on psych programs over the past decades (in my opinion)

Glasgow Schools told not to punish kid bullies

Teachers in Glasgow, Scotland, have been advised not to punish bullies. Top child psychologist Alan McLean claims bringing the playground thugs to book will only make their behaviour worse.

He insists, in new guidelines sent to every school, that punishing them just meets the wish for revenge of parents. But today the mother of a teenage girl who committed suicide after being bullied at school condemned the advice. The mother of 15-year-old Nicola Raphael called instead for tough sanctions.

The psych position sort of seems like, "don't stop the criminals, because if you do, they get mad at you"

This just inspires contempt for the shrink who came up with this.

Victims of child care errors win right to sue

Children wrongly diagnosed as abused or mistakenly taken into care (state custody) at any time in the last 21 years can sue the doctors or social workers responsible, the appeal court (in Britian) has ruled in a landmark judgment.

In a decision likely to be challenged on appeal in the House of Lords, the judges ruled that compensation claims could be brought even where the diagnosis and care proceedings happened before the Human Rights Act came into force. The ruling opens the possibility of claims dating back 21 years because the three-year time limit for launching legal action only starts running once a child reaches 18.

Several psychiatric abuse cases are cited in the article as being part of the decision

Family Sues Hospital Over Suicide

Troy Wayne Wallis, Jr., asked to be admitted to St. Bernard's Behavioral Health in in Jonesboro, Arkansas, in the early morning hours of July 16th. He was dead by that evening, an apparent suicide.

Attorney Mark Steven Colucci said, "When you admit somebody and bring them into your hospital, you are saying to them: we are qualified; we are experienced; we will take care of your loved one." A lawsuit has been filed.