The Minneapolis News covers Ray Sandford’s situation

A very long article with some background. Here are a couple of excerpts:

“When you induce a grand mal convulsion by sending 100-plus volts of electricity in the brain, you’re going to create damage,” says Dr. John Breeding, an Austin, Texas-based psychologist and self-described ECT abolitionist. “This is most easily seen with memory loss that many patients experience. You’re talking major voltage directly into the temporal lobes of the brain. And the data is very clear that there’s close to a 100 percent relapse rate, which means patients have to keep coming back and suffer further brain damage. This is referred to as ‘maintenance ECT,’ rather than as a failed treatment, which is what it really is.”

Even more controversial is the practice of forced, court-ordered electroconvulsive treatment. Neither the American Psychiatric Association nor activist groups have estimates on how many Americans undergo forced ECT annually, but there were 41 cases in Hennepin County last year.

Ray Sandford was one of them. But unlike the others, he’s not going quietly, opting instead to take his fight to the public arena. A small army of mental-health activists has now taken up a national-scale PR campaign on his behalf, painting him as something of a real-life R.P. McMurphy from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

“This case is particularly egregious,” says Dr. Breeding. “Ray Sandford was really the first I heard of somebody being shocked on an outpatient basis.”….

….As director of MindFreedom International, a coalition of self-described “mental human rights organizations” advocating what they call “a nonviolent revolution in mental health care,” Oaks has fielded his share of strange calls. But Oaks had never heard a story like this before.

“My name is Ray Sandford,” said the man on the phone. “I live in a group home in suburban Minneapolis. I’m getting electroshock treatment against my will. What do I do?”

Oaks dialed Lutheran Social Services to confirm the story. A worker familiar with Sandford’s case verified that Sandford was indeed receiving court-ordered electroshock treatments. A copy of the court order confirmed it.

“I get calls all the time from people who are frightened, who are being pushed around and bullied by the mental health system,” says Oaks. “But this guy has made sense the whole time. His was an extremely human response: ‘I don’t want it.'”

Taking up the cause, MindFreedom launched an online Campaign for Ray, with a website detailing Sandford’s predicament. Oaks compiled a list of caretakers associated with Sandford—from doctors to judges to lawyers—along with their contact information, encouraging visitors to call them and demand they put an end to the treatment. In addition, MindFreedom sent out mass emails to its network of activists who, in turn, inundated the governor’s office with phone calls.

6 thoughts on “The Minneapolis News covers Ray Sandford’s situation

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  1. Gianna, I’m glad you’re posting again.

    Kimbriel, don’t take it personally. Shrinks just diagnose. That’s really all they do. Compare lists of symptoms in a big fat book (DSM-IV) with what they currently interpret your behavior to be. Then they fill out their insurance forms with a number corresponding to the list of symptoms that they feel apply the most at the moment. Just ignore that bullshit and stick to your plan. If he won’t help you with a cross-over, ask him for the names of other psychiatrists who are knowledgeable about withdrawing.

    Or start looking on your own…maybe I’m lucky to live in a big metropolitan area with three med schools…but you might have options that you are not aware of in terms of docs/services.

  2. Kimbriel;

    No, you did Not ‘get out of control’ one bit, because even calling these Ideates ‘unscientific’ is being overly charitable. The linguistically accurate Label for Them, is Non-Science.

    And if you’re upset with them and their Chemical Imbalance/Empty Genetic Bag of Hot Air, Poison Peddling/Electrocuting Voo Doo, you have Every right in the World to be so.

    The outrage you’re expressing is Spot On, and the World needs to hear a Lot More of it.

  3. I know, I got a little out of control there, huh?

    These psych doc days always stress me out.

    I know I have problems, I’m just not sure they are MEDICAL, and therefore, not sure they require a medical doctor (much less one from a discipline that tends to be so unscientific).

  4. And according to Oaks last Sunday at the protest, the number of supporters accompanying Ray to his latest “treatment” (torture ?) actually STOPPED them from administering the treatment. I’m glad that we, as a movement, are being heard, little by little, though this is an almost insurmountable battle, what with direct marketing making pill-popping look like “oh, no big deal”. This is just sick, and I can’t believe ECT is going on less than a mile from me. I do know some people who feel it has brought them tremendous relief (without memory loss), so I’m not sure I’m an abolitionist, (even though I do find it barbaric), but I’m definitely about CHOICE and it is beyond frightening that this is happening against people’s wills.

    It kind of makes me want to move far, far away from Berkeley, where my mental health records are (Obama, are you listening? This is why we DON’T want electronic records)… though I do have a neurologist here, who was very active in banning Electroshock in Berkeley for the 41 days it was banned, so I think he would come out in my corner if push came to shove. My worry is that I’ve made it VERY clear just how UNWILLING I am to take the mind-altering drugs, and that they made me feel like crap. It seems like it’s only a short step to… well, the meds didn’t work for you, how about ECT? And then, from how about ECT, to ECT or ELSE?

    GAWD, and I had the most stressful meeting with my psychiatrist today, during which I nearly screamed at him (I sense another diagnosis coming my way). And NO, he did NOT write me a script for Valium. Doesn’t think that sort of tapering is necessary. He also said 10 out of 10 psychiatrists would have diagnosed me with Bipolar, presenting the symptoms that I did. It took every ounce of my will not to tell him that I could care less what a bunch of shrinks have to say, considering his boss nearly poisoned my friend to brain death, starting back in 1985.

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